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Irish pro-life group launches '12 weeks' campaign to keep abortion restrictions

(Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)A pro-life campaigner holds up a model of a 12-week-old embryo during a protest outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast October 18, 2012.

Irish pro-life group Save the 8th has launched a campaign that aims to show unborn babies at 12 weeks gestation in a bid to encourage voters to keep the Eighth amendment.

In May, Irish voters will be asked whether they want to keep or repeal the Eighth amendment, which makes it illegal to abort babies in almost all circumstances.

The government is expected to introduce legislation that would allow women to have an abortion within 12 weeks of pregnancy if the public decides to repeal the amendment.

"It is important that this debate is informed and that people have access to basic information. The Government is asking us to legalise abortion for any reason up to three months. In effect, the legislation proposed says that these babies are not human at all, and will have no rights," Save the 8th's Niamh Ui Bhriain said, as reported by Life Site News.

The group contends that the referendum is asking citizens to approve a proposal that would allow unborn children to be "legally killed."

"Many people believe that at 12 weeks, they are voting on 'a clump of cells'. The simplest look at a 12 week scan proves this to be untrue," Bhriain continued.

Save the 8th argued that information about the unborn should be made available to the public. "A fully informed debate need not show graphic images, or upsetting images. But it should show, at a very basic level, what a child in the womb at that age looks like," the group stated, according to Life Site News.

The group is asking local media to provide images of scans of unborn children in the womb as they cover the referendum campaign. "If they want a fully informed electorate, they will do so," the group went on to say.

A ComRes poll commissioned by SPUC Scotland has reportedly found that many young people change their minds on abortion when shown a picture of an unborn baby at 12 weeks.

As many as 20 percent of 18-34-year-olds reportedly stated that abortion should never be available after seeing an image of a baby at that gestational stage.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, has called on voters to keep the Eighth Amendment, arguing that a repeal would not be an "ethical position."

The bishop noted that not all pregnancies are welcomed by the mothers, but he insisted that the unborn baby cannot be reduced to "merely a medical issue."

He pointed out that Ireland's constitution highlights the idea that it is possible to love both the child and the mother regardless of the circumstances.

Abortion supporters have launched their own campaign in an effort to convince voters that abortion is needed in some situations.

Inclusion Ireland, an organization composed of people with intellectual disabilities, has reportedly joined Together For Yes campaign, arguing that abortion is needed by women who have disabilities.

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