The anti-abortion groups including Irish Pro-Life USA had a presence on Fifth Avenue on Saturday, March 16, for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and want to be admitted into next year’s line of march. 

A number of pro-life groups held banners a block away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, including Students for Life of America, Expectant Mother Care/EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers in New York and others.  

The parade protest, which criticized the passing of the abortion referendum in Ireland last year, was organized by Irish Pro-Life USA and its leader John Byrne, a native of Co. Louth who lives in New Jersey.

“The hundreds from the vast pro-life Irish diaspora, and the many friends of Ireland who stood peacefully and prayerfully on the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue, in protest for the unborn at this year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, sent a clear message. The parade organizers must, as an urgent matter, admit a pro-life unit into the parade’s line of march,” said Byrne in a statement.

“That banner could proclaim, ‘Abortion Get Out of Ireland.’ One of the most famous banner’s in the New York City parade reads, ‘England Get out of Ireland.’ Yet abortion is a destroyer of peace.

“Ireland, with the support of her exiles abroad, must take the next step for the indestructible unity that guarantees legal protection and certainty for vulnerable, unborn lives – for all the unborn – in the mother’s womb and at all stages.”

Byrne’s statement also criticized the presence of pro-choice politicians in the line of march.

“The time is right for the hardworking and dedicated parade organizers, to examine and make some other life-affirming but rightful choices about the future of the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade. Because today it is an affront to the traditions and faith of our Catholic faith and Christian heritage, and an insult to St. Patrick, to lionize pro-abortion lawmakers from Ireland and the U.S. in New York City, at this, the largest annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world,” he said.

“Rather, the time has come to invite, and honor at the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, those brave and courageous pro-life lawmakers from Ireland and the U.S. who have the courage of their moral convictions.”

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Read more: “Offensive” St. Patrick’s Day comments - Should this US magazine apologize?

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The Irish Pro-Life USA presence on Fifth Avenue.