CHICAGO, IL - This past weekend, on Sunday, June 3rd, Life House Ireland and the Thomas More Society co-hosted the First Annual Irish Festival for Life at Chicago’s Irish American Heritage Center.
The fundraiser was quickly organized to help respond to the current pro-life crisis in Ireland as abortion is being forced on the Irish people against their will. Over 300 people responded and vital resources were raised in support of the Irish fighting back for life!
Those in attendance enjoyed moving talks about the pro-life situation in Ireland today the crisis facing Ireland, as well as the opportunity to help keep Ireland 100% pro-life.
The line-up of speakers stressed the strategic importance of Ireland in the global struggle to restore a worldwide culture of life. These pro-life champions moved the crowd to shouts and rounds of applause with their heart stirring stories and pleas to help Ireland at this critical juncture.
Niamh O’Brien, of the Life Institute in Dublin, delivered the Keynote address explaining the current situation in Ireland putting the crisis into context so that everyone readily understood why the European Court’s judgment in the “ABC case” is an unwarranted and unwelcome intrusion into internal Irish affairs. Niamh pointed out that Ireland is currently the safest place in the world for a woman to have a baby without recourse to abortion! And, she made it very clear that this is the paramount reason why Planned Parenthood organized and funded the ABC case precisely because Ireland’s pro-life stand points to the hypocrisy of the position of the promoters of abortion. Niamh shared the results of a recent demographic study which concluded that the pro-life movement has saved over 100,000 lives by keeping Ireland pro-life for the last 20 years.
Tom Brejcha, Senior Counsel of the Thomas More Society, spoke about the David and Goliath struggle going on now in Ireland, particularly with respect to the disparity of funding between the pro-life side (which has public support, but which receives relatively little funding) and the pro-abortion side (which has little public support in Ireland, but which receives funding from donors with deep pockets), and the absolute need to help Ireland right now.
Prof. Charles Rice spoke eloquently about the legal situation in Ireland and rallied the crowd’s enthusiasm for stopping this assault on Ireland, “the jewel in the crown of the pro-life movement.”
Keith Mason, the President of Personhood USA, appealed to the crowd to support Ireland, as a nation which has the basis and capacity to become comprehensively pro-life and be a game-changer in Europe - to effectively turn back the tide in Europe, re-evangelizing with the pro-life message. He acknowledged that the pro-life movement owes a debt to Ireland in that she is an example to the whole world that abortion is never medically necessary. Ireland’s very existence exposes the argument that “banning abortion kills women” to be a scurrilous lie. Banning abortion is correlated with better health outcomes for women.
Joe Scheidler, Founder of the Pro-Life Action League, recalled with fondness the times he had spent in Ireland spreading the pro-life message, and emphasized the close connections that continue to exist between America and Ireland. He honored the Irish pro-life movement stating that it was young people in their 20’s that have kept abortion out of Ireland for the last 20 years.
Opening and closing the event with prayer, Fr. Thomas Loya, of the Tabor Life Institute, spoke of his admiration for the faith of the Irish, despite the present difficulties with the Irish Church, and how the Irish have a special character that is imbued with the love of life.
Putting a cap on the event, Michael Sullivan, Special Counsel to the Thomas More Society and emcee for the day described how the Irish pro-life forces were launching the largest national pro-life multichannel media campaign in the history of the movement to counter the attack on Ireland. He placed the impact of an investment in Ireland into perspective: if saving a single human life is of inestimable worth, then what is the worth of being able to save a whole nation from the curse of abortion.
With Irish music playing in the background and great food provided by the excellent staff at the Irish American Heritage Center, attendees were then treated to a performance by Chicago’s Trinity Dancers who even got some interaction from the audience as they taught people how to do the jig. Many people stayed well after the official end, enjoying each other’s company in a celebratory atmosphere. Genuine love for life and a certain joie de vivre were abundantly evident, as a good time was had by all.
Please visit lifehouseireland.org
for more information about the fight to keep Ireland 100% pro-life, and thomasmoresociety.org to find out about the vital work the Society does to protect life, family, and freedom.