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Liam Neeson under fire for lending voice to Amnesty's campaign ad for abortion to be legalised in Republic of Ireland

Published 22/10/2015

Liam Neeson has come under fire for lending his voice to a campaign advert calling for the legalisation of abortion in the Republic of Ireland.

The Ballymena born actor's distinctive voice narrates the ad in partnership with Amnesty International, which was recently launched as an outcry against Ireland's abortion laws which only allows women to terminate a pregnancy if their lives or health are threatened.

In Northern Ireland abortion is only legal if there is a threat to the life of a woman or where there is a risk of serious and adverse effect on her physical or mental health which is either long term or permanent.

In the video over a foggy,grey, dead land Liam says: "A ghost haunts Ireland. A cruel ghost of the last century still bound to the land."

"It blindly brings suffering, even death, to the women whose lives it touches. Feared by politicians, this is a ghost of paper and ink. A spirit that lives in a constitution written for a different time."

"Ireland doesn't have to be chained to its past. It's time to lay this ghost to rest. Repeal the Eighth."

Irish writer and director, Graham Linehan and his wife Helen joined forces with Amnesty International for the campaign and the video, in order to bring attention to the issue.

Graham and his wife underwent a termination procedure due to a fatal foetal abnormality while living in England, but had they been in Ireland this would have been illegal.

The Taken star lending his support has prompted Pro-life campaigners to launch a petition urging people to boycott Liam Neeson's films meanwhile the actor has also been accused of being "anti-Catholic".

Matthew Archibold of the National Catholic Register slammed the ad saying: "I expect this from Amnesty International but not from the guy who voiced Aslan"

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson

"For an elongated time of the ad, the camera focuses on a cross in the ground, while Neeson says, ‘It blindly brings suffering, even death, to the women whose lives it touches.’ All the while, the old abandoned church in ruins stands as a desolate backdrop.”

Meanwhile the petition states: "Liam Neeson wants Irish women to be able to kill their unborn babies, and he’s frustrated that Ireland’s Christian history, in the form of its 100% pro-life Constitution, is stopping them from doing so.

"In a shockingly offensive new ad, created in partnership with Amnesty International, the camera lingers over a creepy, crumbling church and graveyard. In a voice-over, Neeson decries what he calls a “cruel ghost” that “haunts Ireland” and that “blindly brings suffering, even death,” to women."

It continues: "In this ad, Neeson is directly targeting the lives of countless unborn Irish children, who risk being brutally killed if Ireland repeals its humane pro-life laws."

It finishes: "Neeson needs to know that his support for the pro-abortion cause in Ireland is unacceptable. It’s time to boycott his movies, and urge him to stand up for the right to life of all human beings – including the unborn. "

It then urges people to donate to pro-life organisations instead of watching Neeson's films.

More than 170,000 women and girls have travelled from Ireland to England and Wales for an abortion since 1971 and in 2013, at least 3,679 women and girls travelled to other countries to have an abortion.

Any woman who has an abortion in Ireland faces up to 14 years in prison.

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