Something worth considering: we’d love to help record and highlight practical, unusual, or consensus-building initiatives to reduce the abortion rate, and create a genuinely pro-life society. Please get in touch if there’s something you’d like us to write about!
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As a group, we have two aims: we want change people’s minds about abortion through constructive conversation, and we want to draw attention to the best ideas on how to reduce the abortion rate. 

In the past, we’ve argued that abortion bans do this. Making abortion illegal does not stop everyone from having abortions, but it there is lots of evidence that shows that it can reduce the abortion rate, all else being equal. We’ve written before about the clear increase in the number of women who had abortions after repeal in Ireland. Pre-repeal, many women traveled abroad or used illegal pills purchased online. But it’s undeniable that once abortion was legally available here, more women had abortions. Given this, we definitely don’t want to downplay the importance of legal bans as a way of reducing the abortion rate. 

But as a group, we’ve always wanted to also draw attention to other kinds policies or initiatives that could reduce the abortion rate. We’re interested in new or interesting ideas – but also more obvious ones that work, or ideas that are already put into practice but tend to get overlooked!  Coming up with ideas for policies or initiatives like this, or finding the ones other people have come up with,  is sometimes more time-consuming than explaining why abortion is wrong, responding to pro-choice arguments, or giving conversational tips. As a result we don’t have as long a list of these ‘policy spotlight’ posts as we’d eventually like to. But they’re really core to what we care about as a group. (And we always appreciate recommendations, or interesting guest posts!)

Here’s what we’ve got so far:

  1. Policy spotlight: a child exists before birth – so should child benefit
  2. Policy spotlight: Transport for Ireland’s Baby on Board badges
  3. Policy spotlight: folic acid supplementation for women using contraception
  4. Policy spotlight: Ireland’s Human Milk Bank – a lifesaving service
  5. Implement the National Maternity Strategy Now
  6. Something everyone can get behind: increasing post-abortion supports for women
  7. Supporting parents who lose children before birth: policies that can make a difference
  8. Why pro-lifers should save lives and give blood 

One niche we’re especially interested in investigating is the range of policies or initiatives like this that that both pro-choice and pro-life people could get on board with – that you don’t need to strongly oppose abortion to endorse.  We think that there’s a lot of room for cooperation when it comes to initiatives that might reduce the abortion rate. Much of what would make our society more hospitable to new human lives would also make it fairer and more hospitable in general: fighting sexist and ableist discrimination, ensuring that women and parents have better support, reducing poverty, providing people with better healthcare, finding ways to make sure that all children are cared for both in and outside of the womb.

You don’t need to be pro-life to think this any of this souunds like a good idea. These are causes that I think a lot of people can get behind. And this is good. In the US, many pro-life groups are trying to turn their attention to, or redouble their efforts in pursuing this kind of policy or initiative. Some discussions about this are appearing in mainstream publications. (For example, this article by Liz Bruenig, or  this one by David French.)

But three years after Repeal in Ireland, it’s worth doing something similar ourselves, especially because our society and economy are not the US’s and so present different problems and solutions. So, it’s worth turning an eye to the future and thinking: ‘What can and what could we do to reduce the number of abortions in Ireland?’, ‘What can and what could we do to make our country hospitable to life, and supportive and fair to women and families?’ and doing so in an open-ended way. Is there anything we’re overlooking? Any way of saving lives we haven’t thought of? Is there anything we aren’t doing that we could do?

One good thing about the 2018 referendum and its lead up, was that it is arguably part of what led to the creation of pro-life groups like Community Connect, which or the Zoe Community that provide women who are pregnant with practical support. Those groups are examples of really good initiatives to make our country more hospitable to life by making it more hospitable to women and families. And we know many pro-life people who are individually involved with charities or groups that help with issues ranging from mental health to homelessness to justice for survivors of magdalene laundries. There’s so much more to be done: many new things to start, and older ones to continue doing and draw attention to. We’d love to help record and highlight practical, unusual, or consensus-building initiatives to reduce the abortion rate, and help create a genuinely pro-life society. Please get in touch if there’s something you’d like us to write about!