Irish Pro-Lifers Accuse Google of ‘Rigging’ the Abortion Referendum by Banning Ads

Anti-abortion protesters holding placards walk through Ireland's capital, Dublin, in an anti-abortion protest Saturday, July 6, 2013. More than 35,000 activists marched to the parliament building to oppose Irish government plans to enact a bill legalizing terminations for women in life-threatening pregnancies. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is …
AP/Shawn Pogatchnik

Ireland’s “Save the Eighth” campaign has accused Google of attempting to silence pro-life voices prior to the upcoming national referendum on abortion by banning advertising on its platforms.

“They’re worried we might win, so they’re trying to silence us,” Save the Eighth declared on its website.

On Wednesday, Google announced it would suspend all advertising related to the May 25 abortion referendum, which pro-life activists said was “scandalous” and “an attempt to rig the referendum.” The ban includes ads on the YouTube video platform, which is owned by Google.

“Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment,” a Google spokesperson announced. The ban went into effect on Thursday morning.

“Online was the only platform available to the No campaign to speak to voters directly. That platform is now being undermined in order to prevent the public from hearing the message from one side,” said pro-life forces in a joint statement from Save The 8th, Pro-Life Campaign and The Iona Institute.

The anti-abortion coalition said that Google had caved to pressure from pro-abortion groups and that the ban was motivated by a desire “to prevent voters from being informed.”

“This campaign has been marked by attacks on every form of legitimate campaigning the NO side has taken part in, and a complete absence of scrutiny for the YES side,” the statement reads.

The polls have narrowed, the text reads, and “clearly there is fear in establishment Ireland” that this referendum will be defeated. “That explains the massive pressure exerted on Google, Facebook, and other platforms to deny advertising space to the NO campaign,” it said.

The Save the Eighth campaign has been facing an uphill battle, since Ireland’s political establishment has placed itself firmly in the Repeal camp, and foreign money has poured in from pro-abortion groups to back the Repeal lobby.

In recent days, Irish celebrities such as actor Liam Neeson and pop musician Bono have come out publicly in favor of repealing the eighth amendment.

In 1983, the people of Ireland voted to amend the constitution to recognize the rights of unborn children and guarantee their protection under the law.

In recent years, Ireland has become the target of an intense international crusade to legalize abortion on the Island, with backing from the United Nations and international financier George Soros.

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