2018 seems to have slipped past when nobody was looking, and it is hard to believe the year is gone already. So much was done and so much happened, but as one of my friends noted, the days are long but the years are short. At the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, we were privileged to see our efforts culminate in over four million views of abortion victim photography, tens of thousands of people trained in apologetics, and most importantly, lives saved.
The pro-life movement had its triumphs in the past year. There was ecstatic celebration in Argentina when a massive push to legalize abortion failed by a single vote. Earlier, over three million people had marched in defence of pre-born babies, and police battled green-clad abortion activists who were enraged by the loss, while pro-lifers dressed in blue and waving blue kerchiefs---the symbol of the pro-life movement across Latin and South America—cheered themselves hoarse. It was a beautiful moment.
There was good news in Guatemala, as well. When abortion activists attempted to loosen restrictions there, 20,000 people marched on the capital and forced the politicians to back down. (Some nations still protect their young: The Guatemalan military blocked a Dutch ship attempting to import abortion pills in 2017.) Early in September, thousands marched on the National Congress in Chile, and Chile’s new pro-life president promised that he would pass every protection for pre-born children available to him.
In the United States, the pro-life movement passed dozens of laws on the state level, and the Trump Administration, despite its chaos, continued to support pro-life efforts (in all likelihood due to the powerful backing of Vice President Mike Pence.) With the exception with the failure to defund Planned Parenthood yet again, the barrage of pro-life political advances were relentless. Forty-five years after Roe, the pro-life movement in the US is still growing and still going strong.
I will admit that one somber thought keeps me from being overly cheerful: January 1, 2019 also marks the beginning of legal abortion services in the Republic of Ireland. Simon Harris, Leo Varadkar and the cowardly politicians have created one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world following their hollow victory on May 25, with abortion on demand virtually up until birth and paid for by the tax payer coming to the Emerald Isle. Just as in Canada, physicians will even have to do battle with their government to protect their conscience rights, as Harris allows Irish healthcare to sink into shambles while he pursues his dream of a feticide-free-for-all.
I was in Ireland with several colleagues prior to the referendum working with the Save the 8th Campaign and traveling across the country with the Vote No Roadshow. (My wife and daughter Charlotte ended up in the Daily Mail, the Irish Times, and the Irish Examiner at a Save the 8th press conference.) The Irish pro-lifers are special people, and many of them genuinely lacked the cynicism those of us in North America carry with us, the result of growing up in a nation where children were actually protected. So many worked so hard and so long to protect Ireland’s children, and the loss, as one pro-life leader told me afterwards, “felt like a sudden death in the family.” Irish pro-lifers were crushed by the loss. Many of them simply could not stop crying for the babies that would die as a result.
For them, and for all those who love life, the loss of Ireland’s 8th Amendment will forever mark 2018 as a black year—the blackest year, one told me, in all of Ireland’s long and bloody history. It was the day, he told me, when the Irish became the first nation to choose abortion voluntarily—although it is already apparent that some are realizing they were sold lies by the “Yes” campaign. But the pro-lifers prove that wherever an abortion regime is brought in, there are resistors who refuse to bow the knee, and refuse to let even a single child slip into night and fog without a fight. I will always consider it one of the great privileges of my life that I had the opportunity to stand with my Irish friends, and I hope I will have the opportunity to do so again.
There were both triumphs and tragedies in 2018. Forty-two million children were killed by abortion worldwide. Many babies were saved. Many were not. In 2019, the struggle begins anew.