The Big Lie that swayed the Irish referendum
‘If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,’ Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels allegedly said. The problem with this quote is that Goebbels never said it. On the contrary, at the 1934 Nuremberg rally, Goebbels insisted that ‘Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie’. For Goebbels, the task of propaganda is to help people understand ‘that the right thing is the right thing’.
It is Hitler who articulates the idea of the big lie. The big lie has ‘credibility’, he writes in Mein Kampf, because most people ‘more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large scale falsehoods’.
The pro-abortion lobby won the ‘Yes’ vote in the Irish referendum by a selective dovetailing of Goebbelsian propaganda with the Hitlerian Big Lie. Irish voters were told ‘that the right thing is the right thing’ and were sold the big lie that ‘abortion is healthcare necessary to save the mother’s life’. Which, of course, make it the right thing to do.
If saving the life of the mother is the right thing to do, the Eighth Amendment, which guarantees equal rights to the unborn child, is evil since it threatens every mother’s life. Of course, no pro-lifer denies that saving the life of the mother is the right thing to do. The Big Lie repackages murder as life-saving healthcare with a pink ribbon of morality, blue wrapping-paper of compassion and a ‘Mommy, get well soon’ Hallmark card.
The pro-abortion lobby won the ‘Yes’ vote in the Irish referendum by a selective dovetailing of Goebbelsian propaganda with the Hitlerian Big Lie.
The most disingenuous strategy of the pro-aborts is exploiting the tragedy of Savita Halappanavar, a Hindu Indian immigrant mother, as a human-interest story to frame what they then showcased as the outdated, patriarchal, and oppressive morality of a traditionally Roman Catholic country.
Together for Yes, an umbrella organisation consisting of over 70 pro-abortion groups, emblazons its website with this Big Lie – ‘your YES vote will mean we can regulate abortion and care for the women who need it’. It highlights healthcare as the raison d’être for abortion. ‘Vote YES to allow doctors to treat women whose health is put at risk in pregnancy,’ it pleads.
Right below these ‘facts’ the eye-catching website displays ten videos with eight female and two male doctors telling voters ‘why they will be voting Yes’ – to ‘allow doctors to treat women whose health is put at risk in pregnancy’. At the bottom of the page it claims 1,642 doctors have ‘signed our petition calling for change, so that they can provide safer, more compassionate healthcare for patients in Ireland’.
The website draws the viewer’s eye to a row of neat pink boxes with questions like ‘Does abortion harm a woman?’ The answer is a Big Lie: ‘When carried out under adequate medical supervision, an abortion is very safe and safer than childbirth.’ Further, ‘There is no evidence that an abortion harms a woman’s mental health.’
The most disingenuous strategy of the pro-aborts is exploiting the tragedy of Savita Halappanavar.
Conversely, there is ‘clear evidence that women are harmed in countries where abortion is highly restricted, such as in Ireland’. And, ‘highly restricted regimes provoke feelings of anxiety and depression and are linked to an increased risk of suicide’.
The Big Lie has also swayed the debate on the Isle of Man. As a GP, Dr Alex Allinson gives the Big Lie credibility by promoting the Abortion Reform Bill 2018 in island’s parliament. The bill redefines ‘health’ as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. The word ‘healthcare’ is strewn around like confetti at a wedding in the debate.
The bald truth is that the overwhelming majority of abortions do not involve medical necessity. Doctors agree that only a ‘miniscule’ number of abortions are performed for medical reasons. Dr Landrum Shettles, pioneer of in vitro fertilisation estimates less than one per cent of all abortions are performed to save the mother’s life.
Dr C Everett Koop, widely regarded as the most influential US Surgeon General in history, says that in 36 years as a paediatric surgeon, he was never aware of a single situation in which an unborn child’s life had to be taken in order to save the mother. ‘The most commonly reported reason women cite for having an abortion is to postpone or stop childbearing,’ reports the International Family Planning Perspectives journal, using evidence from 27 countries.
The word ‘healthcare’ is strewn around like confetti at a wedding in the debate.
The monumental lie pitting the life of the mother against the life of the unborn child can be refuted in one word: intent. If an abortion is not necessary to save the mother’s life, the intent of the doctor is to kill the unborn baby. When an abortion is carried out to save the mother’s life (for instance in the case of ectopic pregnancy) the intent of the physician is not to kill the unborn baby but to save the mother’s life. The death of the unborn child is the unintended and unavoidable consequence of this lifesaving act.
If two people are drowning I will try to save them both. If I can save only one life, I will try and save the life it is possible to save. One life saved is better than two lives lost. The life that can be saved should be saved. More often than not that life is the mother’s.
The Eighth Amendment ‘does not restrict doctors from acting to save the life of a woman where a serious complication arises,’ states Prof Eamon McGuinness, former chairman of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In fact, the Medical Council obliges doctors to act where ‘it may be necessary to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby’.
As for mental health, researchers agree that there is no evidence to suggest that providing abortion reduces the mental health risks of unwanted pregnancy. A reappraisal of the evidence suggests that ‘abortion may be associated with small to moderate increases in risks of some mental health problems’ (anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, illicit drug abuse and suicidal behaviour).
The Big Lie pitting the life of the mother against the life of the unborn child can be refuted in one word: intent.
In the case of Savita Halappanavar, three separate investigations unanimously concluded that her death was caused by the medical staff’s failure to recognise that she was in severe sepsis and already gravely ill. Her death was caused by medical mismanagement of a virulent form of sepsis and not by Ireland’s pro-life laws.
Nothing in Irish law would have prevented doctors from intervening to deliver a baby during a miscarriage with clinical or biochemical signs of infection. Savita Halappanavar died because the medical team deemed wrongly that it was not necessary to induce delivery and waited for the miscarriage to complete without intervention.
‘Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively…’ but it ‘must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side,’ writes Hitler. ‘Today one can say without exaggeration that Germany is a model of propaganda for the entire world,’ boasts Goebbels. The Teutonic hearts of Hitler and Goebbels would swell with pride if only they knew how a Celtic nation once steeped in the Catholic faith would adopt their tried-and-tested model less than a century later.
‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,’ writes the prophet Isaiah. Hitler and Goebbels must be cheering from their cell in hell. Isaiah must be weeping from God's throne room in heaven.