The visit of US president Joe Biden to Ireland this week has resulted in much fanfare. The official reason for the visit is the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought about the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1998. In this sense, Joe Biden is in Ireland to represent the United States and the role it played in the Northern Irish peace process.
But the man who occupies the presidency cannot be completely divorced from the symbolic office of the US president itself. For Biden, with a re-election campaign around the corner, a visit to Ireland is an opportunity to appeal to the 36 million Americans who claim Irish heritage. As part of his schedule, Biden will be visiting holy sites like Knock in County Mayo, the county his people came from.
While Joe Biden’s Irish roots have been endlessly discussed in the media, many commentators have lost sight of the reality that Mr Biden is a guest, and not engaged on a homecoming tour.
It’s important to remember that a foreign policy objective of the Biden administration has been the promotion of abortion internationally.
After taking office in 2021, President Biden withdrew the United States from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a progressive international declaration which committed signatories not to interfere in the pro-life laws of other countries and not to include abortion legalization as a precondition to the receipt of foreign aid.
The Biden administration has ruthlessly promoted abortion as an arm of its foreign policy, which amounts to neo-colonial meddling in the domestic affairs of developing countries and attempting to foist abortion on countries where it is culturally unthinkable.
Of course, President Biden’s domestic attitude to abortion, in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade, has been extremely regressive. Most recently, with the April 2023 ruling in Texas on the abortion pill mifepristone, President Biden slammed the ruling as ‘dangerous’ and vowed his administration would fight it.
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His hostile attitude towards states’ adoption of pro-life policies in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade is deeply troubling from a perspective which values human rights.
Despite Joe Biden’s domestic and global advocacy of extreme abortion policies, he has presented himself as adhering to a religious value system which fundamentally conflicts his stance on abortion. This contradiction has been well noted in the United States and elsewhere but seems to have slipped the minds of many Irish commentators.
In an Irish context, the legalization of abortion in 2019 has claimed nearly 30,000 unborn lives in just four years. Given the size of the Irish population, the impact of abortion can be seen in the fact that last year (based on figures released by the Minister for Health recently) one in eight pregnancies ended in abortion.
The role of powerful organisations like Planned Parenthood International in spearheading efforts to erode Ireland’s culture of life and introduce extreme abortion legislation (including funding pro-abortion NGOs operating in Ireland) has been very significant. Unfortunately, President Biden strongly lines up with this agenda which has been so destructive to human life in the United States and globally.
Because of Joe Biden’s actions, he cannot expect to receive a “céad míle fáilte” (one hundred thousand welcomes) from Irish people who value the right to life for unborn children. Whilst President Biden’s visit to Ireland is officially to mark the United States’ role of peacebuilding in Ireland, his destructive policies cannot be brushed under the carpet.
Many millions of Irish Americans, including Biden voters, care about sincerely upholding the proposition that all life is created equal. Photoshoots at historic Irish landmarks may play well among some but many Irish people, who have the utmost admiration for the United States and its people, have sincere reservations about the anti-life policies ruthlessly pursued by the Biden administration.
LifeNews Note: Eilís Mulroy is a lawyer and heads up the Pro Life Campaign in Ireland
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