More than 25,000 people gather for a pro-life vigil outside the Irish parliament in Dublin Jan. 19.

CNS PHOTO | JOHN MC ELROY

More than 25,000 people gather for a pro-life vigil outside the Irish parliament in Dublin Jan. 19.

February 4, 2013

In the wake of the largest pro-life demonstration ever held in Ireland, cracks have begun to emerge in the coalition government’s plans to legislate for abortion.

More than 25,000 people converged on Dublin Jan. 19, braving bitterly cold weather, to attend the Unite for Life vigil.

The rally was organized by pro-life groups opposed to the government’s plans to allow restricted abortion when there is a risk to a woman’s life, including a threat of suicide.

The massive turnout appeared to take politicians and the mainstream media by surprise.

By Jan. 21, Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton revealed that she was working on an alternative bill that would exclude the threat of suicide as a reason to allow abortion.

Creighton said she had “grave reservations” about accepting the risk of suicide as a ground for abortion “because I think it is very, very difficult to identify a system that would allow for that while also ensuring we don’t open the floodgates.”

She said she and many of her colleagues in the Fine Gael party had “deep concerns” over abortion, and she said the government needed to ensure that whatever legislation it introduced was “restrictive.”