Skip to main content

UCC Express W/C 15th Sep - Abortion & Ireland

It’s happened again. Once more, Ireland has abandoned a vulnerable, pregnant woman, in her time of most need. Just as the collective psyche of our nation was beginning to forget the horror of the case of Savita Halappanavar, we got a chilling reminder, in a case reminiscent of the X case, of just how archaic and incongruous our laws are, when it comes to the reproductive needs and rights of Irish women in the 21st century.

This debate is no longer about whether you are pro-choice or “pro-life”. This is about whether you believe rape victims and women on their deathbeds are entitled to determine their own destiny. Do you view them as living, breathing, emotional beings? Do you think they get scared and suicidal at the thought of carrying a pregnancy, forced upon them by the most heinous of crimes? Do you recognise that they and their loved ones collectively cried, as they needlessly slipped away, because “Ireland is a Catholic country”? Why do people feel they can rationalise such horrendous tragedies, just because their “moral compass” allows them to, because they are “pro-life”?

Colours to the mast, yes I am pro-choice. However, that is inconsequential at this stage, I believe. It is one thing for a society to wash their hands of the plights of thousands of women, who board planes and ferries every year, to avail of an abortion, in the vacuum of Irish provision. It is quite another thing, to leave a woman die, or force a suicidal rape victim to sustain a pregnancy, forced upon her by her rapist, because of the cowardice of our political system and the dictation of a conservative minority.

As a society, we should be appalled at the most recent treatment of a teenage rape victim. Force-fed, lied to and made endure a pregnancy, that made her want to end her own life. And all to appease a minority who place equal, if not more value on a zygote than they do on the suffering of a living, breathing woman? I think it was indicative of the mindset of the more hardened “pro-life” contingent, that in the wake of this most recent case, a vigil was held for the prematurely delivered baby, yet no such holy processions were held for the raped and suicidal teenager, the actual victim in the whole sordid debacle.

How many more women’s lives must be lost or diminished, before this nation grows up and accepts we need a proper solution and not some halfway-house to reside in, in order to keep the Vatican and the men in frocks content? Individual people are very much entitled to be against abortion and to express that resistance, as private citizens. However groups of people that congregate as conservative groups, hell bent on using misinformation, lies and scare tactics to further an outdated agenda, to the detriment of a huge amount of women, should be recognised for what they are. They are a hindrance to the development of a fully functioning Irish state and a threat to our very democracy, not to mention the lives of women. 

People need to stop dissociating themselves from the plights of women and resist reflecting on women’s options from a safe distance. What if it were your daughter that was raped and suicidal? What if it were your partner that needed an abortion to give her a better chance of survival? Would you place the same value on a microscopic embryo as your loved one in that situation? Abortion is a contentious and divisive issue, there is no doubt about that. However, now is the time where we must come together and empathise with women once and for all. Just because your life is secure and you have the ability to offer a new life a home, don’t assume everyone else can. 

Just because your pregnancy or that of your partners was event free, don’t assume all others are. Being “pro-life” should be about more than using your self assumed superior morality, to dictate the futures of others. The care and protection of women should precede all else, and most certainly that of the unborn, as uncomfortable a concept as that is for some.


Popular posts from this blog

A Reflection on the Referendum

Since 2012 I have lived with M.E, an illness that is both deeply complex and largely misunderstood in equal amounts. While the trajectory of my journey of recovery has generally been on an upward curve, and for the past number of years I have found myself living as close to a normal life as could be expected, the past number of weeks I have hit a large impasse. I haven’t feared for my future this much in a long time, as I prepare for more hospital visits, journeys that I forgot filled me with such trepidation.

So what has all this got to do with the 8th amendment referendum I hear you ask? Today has been a tough day mentally, as I struggle to get to grips with the abject disappointment of my current health, and the impact this is having on my life today. As I spent much of this morning in silence, I began thinking about the issue of so called 'hard cases' that have been mentioned ad nauseam by both sides in the current debate. I have no doubt that I would not be considered a &#…

Children, and the 8th amendment debate

The eight amendment debate has been vitriolic, and thus far raw emotion, intolerance, hysterical claims, and a lack of insight into opposing views have formed the entire premise on which to argue ones ‘cause’. Just a number of weeks ago, as I walked down Patrick Street in Cork, I observed a ‘prolife’ lobby group displaying the now all too familiar gruesome imagery, that their propaganda machine deems appropriate to exhibit. It was a Saturday afternoon, at prime time trading hours, on one of the busiest thoroughfares in Cork; their position ensured they had the capacity to engage a critical mass of families. Somewhat astonishingly, the group’s obliviousness to the damage such imagery could have on a child’s emotional well being only became apparent to me when I pointed out this fact directly to them. They weren’t for turning. Unfortunately, the ironic disregard for children’s well being in this current debate is nothing new. In the past week, I have observed children holding placards a…

'The Irish Social Worker' - The Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, a critique.

While Ireland still grapples with a litany of historical failures in respect of children; professionals, policy makers, and legislators have recognised the need for policy and law that concerns children to be in a consistent state of evolution. This is recognised as crucial to account for evolving societal norms, growing research with respect to childhood experiences, as well as the archaic nature of much of Irish legislation and policy. Consequently, it could be interpreted that any policy or legislative shift is conducive to Ireland making positive strides in enhancing the rights of children, advocating for positive childhood experiences, as well as developing policy and legislation that is more in line with the contemporary realities of Irish families, where children are born to non-married parents much more frequently. Notwithstanding this however, it is crucial that we are cognisant of the need to remain objective when examining any and all perceived ‘advancements’ in policy and …