HLI Condemns Anti-Catholic Laws Imposed on Northern Ireland

For immediate release:  October 22, 2019

Irish Contact:

Lisa O’Hare, HLI Ireland Media Liaison –  lisa@humanlife.ie

USA Contact:

Deborah M. Piroch, Director of Public Relations – dpiroch@hli.org


(Belfast, N. Ireland and Front Royal, VA) – At midnight last night the new ruling by Westminster to allow abortion to 24 weeks or 4 months of age – and past the stage of viability of many preterm babies – became law in Northern Ireland. Additionally, same-sex marriage will be permitted, with the first such “marriages” to take place in February of 2020. While traditionally the Catholic side has voted for Sinn Fein, it is now the Democratic Union Party (DUP) that is the party on the side of the life issue. The DUP even unsuccessfully attempted to rally the Northern Irish Assembly back into session yesterday, in a last-ditch effort to stop the change happening. It was unsuccessful. The session lasted less than an hour, many parties including Sinn Fein did not attend, and the DUP’s own speaker blocked the measure. MPs walked out well before the midnight deadline, making it clear the legislation would pass. This move by Westminster would not have been possible, excepting that the Northern Irish Assembly has not met in three years, referred to commonly as a “devolved” government.

Human Life International (HLI) maintains a network of 100 affiliates around the globe. HLI Ireland Media Liaison, Lisa O’Hare, spoke to the BBC in advance of the session. Herself the mother of eight, including one child with Down’s, she was prepared to vote DUP, as the only pro-life party on the ballot. She spoke out, saying: [People] have to look to parties that put life first, and putting marriage first and at least trying to put God central.” She predicted that the law would completely alter Irish society. She argued: “First and foremost has to be the right to life and to honor God’s plan for love and marriage….Discrimination and equality begin in the womb.”
HLI President Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, in an official response, states:

We mourn with the people of Northern Ireland, for the decision rendered without their sanction, and for the children that will be murdered, and the families that will suffer. Abortion comes at a terrible price. It doesn’t just kill babies and harm mothers; it affects the whole of society – we all suffer.

The United Kingdom legalized abortion in 1967, even before the United States, and has now imposed its politics upon the Irish. Last year the Republic of Ireland voted against the 8th Amendment after denying the right to life was inherent in its constitution. And now Northern Ireland has given way to this evil.  One can no longer say as in the 1960s before the advent of ultrasound, “I did not know this was a baby. I have not seen the ultrasound. I did not know the baby felt pain during the abortion. I did not hear its heart beat nor see its form moving on screen.”

Moreover, there is no “right” to marriage. The Catholic Church defines same-sex attraction as deviant behavior. Solidifying this practice into law further tears asunder the family. We must return to one man married to one woman, open to the creation of life. For once-Catholic Ireland to turn its back on its mother, the Church, this can only bring a wealth of brokenness and heartache. HLI will continue to uphold the Truth of the Church and pray in union for all of the Irish people. After all, we are commanded to hope: St. Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans, “Be not overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good (12:21).


Deborah M. Piroch graduated from Mount Holyoke College, the nation’s oldest women’s college, with a double major in German and English Literature. She studied abroad and earned her M.A. in English Literature from Indiana University. Fluent in German, she began her career in international journalism working for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany. Returning to the States after a three-year contract, she worked as arts reporter and producer on prime time shows for WQED-FM in Pittsburgh, then a top 20 market. After another three years, she was hired by EWTN Global Catholic Network as news director, anchor and writer for “Catholic World Today,” but soon transitioned into television. Highlights of her 15 years at EWTN include co-anchoring the U.S. March for Life with Marcus Grodi on more than one occasion, live translating the election of Pope Benedict XVI into German, interviewing two former U.S. Presidential candidates and producing Father Benedict Groeschel’s prime time program from its inception for six years. Named the Network’s first International Production Coordinator, she also proposed, budgeted and executed TV shoots in Scotland, England, Norway, Sweden and Germany. Most recently she served as Director of PR for Human Life International.

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