Claire Culwell, from Texas, survived an abortion, now ahead of Ireland’s 8th Amendment referendum she’s sharing her story with the Irish.
An American woman who survived a late term abortion 30 years ago is in Ireland this week to speak at several pro-life rallies ahead of the May 25 referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment which restricts abortion only to cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
Claire Culwell, from Austin, Texas, discovered nine years ago that her 13-year-old birth mother had an abortion when she was five months pregnant. However, when her mother continued to gain weight doctors discovered she had been pregnant with twins, and only one had been aborted. Her mother sought to abort the surviving fetus which was six months old at the time but couldn’t find a doctor to perform the procedure.
Culwell was born prematurely not long after, was slightly over three pounds and had several medical problems, including dislocated hips and club feet. She was adopted by a family and thrived, and since meeting her birth mother and discovering that she survived an abortion she has toured the U.S. talking at pro-life rallies and raising funds for various groups.
“I obviously never expected to find something like that out when I met my birth mother,” Culwell told the Irish Voice. “It was extremely shocking. Fortunately, I was raised in a family that is Christian, and they said to me that I could be angry and upset or look at the positives and be grateful for my life and help other people. So that’s what I’ve decided to do.”
Prior to discovering she had survived an abortion Culwell wasn’t actively involved in the pro-life movement, she says. Married with a five-year-old daughter and three children her husband was raising, Culwell says she never felt compelled to join the movement until finding out her own back story.
“I would say that I was always pro-life because I’m adopted, so I knew personally what the alternative to abortion could be,” she said. “I had never probably spoken the word abortion in my life, but after meeting my birth mother everything changed.”
Culwell’s trip to Ireland this week came about after Irish pro-life groups contacted her representatives at Ambassador Speakers, a leading Christian speaking group which counts Fox News personality Laura Ingraham among its clients. Culwell told the Irish Voice last weekend that she was looking forward to the trip and hopes to change Irish “hearts and minds” on the topic of abortion.
“I’m going over there at a crunch time, and I’m going to share what’s been going on in the United States as we have legalized abortion. But mainly I’m going to share my own story and give a face to what people are debating about and voting for,” she added.
“A lot of times people hear the word abortion and think only about the person who would have one. But there’s a domino effect that I want people to realize – if I had been aborted, for example, my five-year-old daughter wouldn’t be here either.”
Culwell spoke at a rally in Bundoran, Co. Donegal on Monday evening which was attended by more than 500 people according to media reports.
“Women, their partners and their babies deserve better than abortion,” she told the crowd. “We need to work on providing life-saving alternatives to abortion so that women don’t feel that they have no choice but to have an abortion when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant.”
Culwell is due to speak in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, Limerick and Cork before she returns to the U.S. on April 8. She said she was aware of how emotive the abortion issue is in Ireland and that each year Irish women travel by the thousands to the U.K. to have the procedure.
“We all know you can have laws, but people can break them, and they do break them. They will have an abortion somewhere if they set their mind to it, and that’s why I really want to change hearts and minds about it. No matter what happens with the vote, I want more and more people to value life.”
On her Instagram account, Culwell posted a note after the Bundoran rally.
“I talked about how making abortion UNTHINKABLE is most important (women will find a way to have abortion regardless if it's illegal or not) .... but protecting the 8th amendment is great, and I encourage he Irish people to vote to keep the 8th amendment,” she wrote.
“Another thing that was brought to my attention today that is that in 2017, only 7 babies were available for adoption in Ireland. So many families want a baby. We have got to keep having the hard conversations and making the uncomfortable decisions that protect and speak up for LIFE. We have got to speak up for adoption. Children deserve LIFE and a FAMILY in beautiful Ireland! Please continue to pray for me and those working tirelessly here in Ireland for the Rallies for Life.”
Here's "Claire's story" as posted on her promotional website: