This is a very sad time for Ireland. The 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution protecting the rights of unborn babies has been overturned in a referendum of Irish voters by a two to one margin. Abortion legislation will now follow allowing for the killing of the unborn, for any or no reason.
'So,'you readers may ask,' why is this far-distant result of any real significance for you, Joseph, even if you are a prolife supporter?'
Let me answer by first pointing out to you my name as Joseph 'PATRICK KEVIN' Meissner. Where did I get such Irish names as 'Patrick'and 'Kevin'? These are gifts from my Gaelic Mother who came from County Mayo in 1938 to settle in the new land of golden streets. She was a very hard working immigrant who married my Dad Joseph Charles Meissner, carrying his background of German blood. They were such a great loving couple who gave life to us five children.
In 1973 I first became involved with prolife activities in Ohio. This happened after I received materials from Dr. John and Nurse Barbara Wilkie, two early saints and educators of the prolife movement. I can remember my horror at looking at a four page color pamphlet and seeing the tiny ripped apart and torn baby bodies after a day's work in an abortion section of a hospital.
I showed these to my Mother. 'That cannot be right,'she strenuously objected, 'they can't be doing that in the hospitals.
But they were, in hospitals and clinics. Over a million abortions a year in America. A number of these were done on the unborn who had previously developing legs and arms and heads. Many of these unborn babies already had beating hearts, which ceased forever when their lives were exterminated.
So since 1973 until the present, I tried to do my best as a prolife advocate including heading our Cleveland Right to Life Chapter for six years, doing life witnessing at abortion clinics, helping start Lawyers of Life, working on prolife legislation, testifying at city and state legislative hearings, and writing briefs while defending pro-lifers in court battles. It was and is a hard struggle and there are not too many obvious successes. There are, however, babies now growing to adulthood that we saved. I can remember one fine politician of an Afro-American heritage telling me, 'If you had not talked to me, Joseph, and shown me the abortion photographs, my son would not be alive today. Thank you.'
Just that one success makes all the efforts and time spent worthwhile.
Let me turn specifically to Ireland. About 1983, my First Motherland adopted a very prolife amendment to her constitution, which is referred to as the Eighth Amendment. This was adopted overwhelmingly by the Emerald Island's people. Here are the words.
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
This is very strong wording-perhaps the most powerful inn the constitutions of the world. The Amendment specifically refers to the 'unborn'and acknowledges the latter's right to life equal to his/her mother. Moreover, the State is required to guarantee protection for this fundamental right and to pass laws defending and vindicating that right.
Nobody knows exactly how many Irish individuals are alive today because of this constitutional protection, but we can reasonably assume there are many. There are Irish women today who affirm that this 8th Amendment helped them make a decision for life for their unborn child. Unfortunately a number of Irish pregnant mothers have gone to England where it is fairly easy to procure an abortion at any stage of the unborn child's life. About five thousand women a year take this awful journey of death. One Irish prolife woman has passionately exclaimed that this is another example of the British killing off the Irish. This alludes to the contention that the Irish Famine which resulted in the deaths of over a million Irish men, women, and children was caused by British polices and was worsened by the failures of the English government-which ruled Ireland at that time in the 1840's-- to effectively help the starving people after the potato crop catastrophes.
Under various liberal governments in Ireland, under pressures aided by outside pro-abortion groups and funding, an effort had built up over past decades to repeal the 8th Amendment. The drive was started to have a referendum of the voters on the 8th Amendment. I heard of this and about the wonderful volunteer efforts of so many to oppose the referendum and retain the 8th Amendment. I did send money as well as letters to these wonderfully generous people urging them to fight to protect the unborn. I also urged others in America on my email address lists to provide similar support and send donations for this campaign to show love for both pregnant mother and unborn baby.
Regrettably last Friday, May 25th, 2018, the anti-life side prevailed by a two-to-one margin. Because of this past year's Irish voting allowing for same sex marriage, I had anticipated the pro-abortion results of this referend on the 8th Amendment. But I had thought the vote would be closer. There is something I read in Irish literature about the unborn babies in their mothers' wombs reaching out in welcome to St. Patrick when he first came to Ireland centuries ago. Are the unborn children still reaching out to today' Green Island population?
Anyway after I had stayed up much of election night sorting through the internet news stories and after it had become obvious that the pro-abortionists had captured another nation, I was very sad. In fact, I was downright disheartened. I wanted to shout out from my Cleveland home all the way to the Irish coasts: 'How could my Mother's native land do this? How could you reject this strong prolife constitutional provision which had been overwhelmingly approved by the Irish some thirty five years before when the 8th Amendment was added to the Irish Constitution?'
After some praying I wrote a letter to one Irish pro-life organization. Here is my letter of 27 May 2018
Dear Friends in life
1. Let us know you received this email. We want to be certain we are in contact
2. The news the last few days has been devastating. I personally thought the prolife side might lose, but it would be close.
3. So what to do now?
a. We had one prolife leader from Ireland quoted as saying he would 'accept the referendum.' What does that mean? Was he quoted out of context? Does he not know how to talk? Didn't he have two speeches ready: one if the prolife side won, and one if they lost?
b. What are your plans? As a prolife leader here in Cleveland since 1973 to present, I do have some ideas and suggestions. If there is any interest in what your American cousins would propose, let me know. Even though I am only half-Irish (mother was from County Mayo), we still can come up with possibly a few good ideas.
4. We did pray for Ireland at church today.
Take care. God will never abandon His prolife people and the unborn children and pregnant mothers. Love both.
Joseph Patrick Kevin Meissner, Attorney
Today I did receive a very warm and even optimistic response. Here it is:
Dear Joseph Patrick Kevin
It is wonderful to hear from you and thank you so much for your support from Cleveland. I have shared your message with my colleagues.
On Saturday, our movement suffered a major setback but this won't discourage us from continuing our work and growing the movement. The campaign, despite Saturday's outcome, has resulted in thousands of people emerging as incredible ambassadors for life. Remember, 1 in 3 people who voted, voted to keep the constitutional protection of the 8th Amendment.
We must continue to represent the interests of unborn babies and their mothers, we owe it to future generations to continue to speak the truth clearly and without fear. The battle is far from over. At some point in the future, we will be victorious. Let's work together for that day. The injustice that is abortion will not win in the end.
We can't thank you enough for all your supports, and for your prayers, we will keep in touch with you, could you send us your postal address also please Joseph.
Take care you too.
From all of us here at the Loveboth Team.
There are some lessons in all of this. God always provides messages for us and we should and must listen.
First, we can never be too complacent in any country and any area. The Devil is always at work. There have been and will be constant efforts at getting other countries to eliminate their pro-life legislation. Like the young ladies of the Bible with enough oil for their night lamps, we have to be vigilant always and everywhere.
Second, we must not become despondent. God, who occasionally talks with me, told me the other day, 'I do not like complainers. Nor do I like quitters.' I think it was Mother Theresa whose prolife views on abortion and the unborn and pregnant mothers, rarely gets through in any general media stories about her--said something like the following: 'It is not whether you succeed in your earthly efforts, but whether you tried.' So we must keep trying.
Third, we must always be careful about only putting our trust and faith in legislation. It is not that we should give up on changing laws and court decisions. We must try all the harder. But in the end the people must believe in that law if it is to succeed. We all must understand how every human life-no matter how small and seemingly insignificant - must be valued and protected. That also means that we should reach out in any way we can through pregnancy help centers, bills boards and advertising, social media, and so on, with our prolife messages, but even more with our help, financial, medical, housing, pamper crusades, and the list continues.
Fourth, the abortion clinics and their financial backers are already planning where to set up business in Ireland. Dublin will probably be the first location. We must be present every moment wherever an abortion clinic is open with our prayers and offers of help to any pregnant mother being pressured into an abortion.
Fifth, keep praying. My knowledge is that in the World War II concentration camps, the people continued to pray even when God seemed so distant and almost uncaring. Those are the times when God may be most present to us and we should welcome the challenge to sow goodness and love.
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