Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

Sorry, but most Irish people are not against abortion.

Posted by Jason O on Apr 30, 2013 in Irish Politics |

Repost: On the 25th November 1992 over a million Irish voters, 62% of those who voted, voted Yes to the 13th amendment to the Irish constitution. This was to give the right to travel to Irish citizens, which in the context of the day was primarily a right to seek an abortion in the UK or elsewhere.

In other words, the Irish people voted that day not against abortion as a practice, but merely as a practice to be carried out HERE. We specifically inserted into our constitution a provision to ensure that the state would not attempt to prevent the procuring of an abortion by an Irish citizen. When other countries ask are you pro-life or pro-choice, we ask WHERE will the procedure be carried out? How Flann O’Brien of us.

Of course, some pro-lifers argue that it is not practical to stop Irish women seeking an abortion abroad. Why then did we have to pass a constitutional amendment to specifically prevent the government from doing that? We did it exactly because an Attorney General tried to do it, and we were mortified at him taking all this right to life of the unborn stuff seriously, making a show of us in front of the Brits and everybody else.

I genuinely am conflicted as to where I stand on abortion, but I’ll tell you one thing: nothing makes my stomach churn faster than watching alleged pro-life Irish politicians dance the popular No Abortion Here jig, and then go all quiet when asked about defending the unborn being exported for abortion. They go all quiet because they know that most Irish people are not pro-life but geographical abortionists, cherishing the unborn until the moment the Ryanair boarding pass is handed over. If they really believed, they’d be advocating a reversal of the 13th amendment and a law making it a criminal offence to seek an abortion abroad. But that would conflict with the look-the-other-way values of the Irish people.

It’s an awful pity hypocrisy isn’t an Olympic sport, because we’d be weighed down with medals.

8 Comments

Qaoileann
Jul 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I’m pretty sure they – like US anti-abortion politicians – have no answer for what should happen to women who get abortions. If it’s a crime, shouldn’t they be punished? But you won’t see “pro-life” people advocating that, because it doesn’t fit with their message in two ways: they prefer to see women as ignorant, helpless victims rather than rational adults; and they want themselves seen as “pro-women”.


 
Anon
Jul 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Abortion is one of the thorniest issues, because both sides are advocating violating a person’s rights. A woman has self ownership over her body, but then so does her unborn child. Telling a woman she can’t remove the foreign object (unwanted child) violates her property rights she has over her body, but killing the baby violates it’s right to not to be killed. I see the only way to satisfy both property rights is to remove the child without trying to kill it.


 
Brendan
Jul 24, 2012 at 10:23 am

what is is you want from pro-life people? We cannot control what happens in other countries (though our politicians and diplomats are disgracefully weak when it comes to speaking in international fora such as CoE, EU and UN on these matters) and we can’t legally or practically stop someone leaving the country to have an abortion. We don’t like it, we don’t support it, but it’s entirely disengenuous of you to suggest, as some pro-choicers do, that we somehow happy with it as “an Irish solution”? Would you like us to end the so called hypocrisy by installing sonograms in airports?

If we’re going to end pretense, let’s start with people like you who pretend to be conflicted. If you can’t see that killing an innocent child in the womb is wrong, then you’re not conflicted, you’re pro-choice.


 
Jason O
Jul 24, 2012 at 10:07 pm

You are unwilling to support a referendum to prevent women seeking abortions from leaving the jurisdiction to seek the killing of an innocent child in the womb abroad. The only difference between my pro-choice position and yours is a Ryanair ticket and your willingness to turn a blind eye. You don’t need sonograms anymore than we need to have radars on every single road to have speed limits. Many people just obey the law, and such a law on abortion would deter some women, thus saving more unborn. It would be politically unpopular however, and so you sacrifice those unborn in your political interest. The difference is that I admit it.


 
Brendan
Jul 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Well I voted against freedom to travel. But there are plenty of things that I think are wrong but I accept I can’t prevent by law – adultery, telling lies, masturbation. In a world of open borders, and paricularly with the common travel area I can’t stop somoene going to England for an abortion. But you are suggesting that people are only delighted to have people going to England so long as it doesn’t happen in Ireland. I don’t think that remotely reflects the views of the majority of people who oppose abortion. I would certainly be utterly opposed to the HSE paying for people to go to England for abortions.


 
Jason O
Jul 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Why did you vote against the freedom to travel?


 
Brendan
Jul 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I voted against it because it was being described as a “right to travel to obtain an abortion”. I don’t think people have that right as such, but by and large they have the right to travel and we can’t stop them. In the same way I supported the decriminalisation of homosexual acts but don’t think there’s a right as such to homosexual acts, and certainly not to same sex marriage, just to muddy the waters of your post.


 
Joe
Jul 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Qaoileann: it’s interesting what you’re “pretty sure” about. You’re completely wrong. When straw man arguments about “who are you going to punish?” come up, they are always met with the statement that it will not be punished.

You probaly think the US some third world theocracy, and imagine whatever else, but the pro-lifers put forward what they believe because they are sincere in their view that there is something wrong with taking an action to end a life if the reasons are as pedestrian in the grand scheme of life as economic or because it would be an inconvenience.

As to my own view, I think it’s a decision that should be taken very seriously – far more seriously than I have seen women take it. It should be taken as seriously as the decision to withdraw life support from a patient – something I was left alone to determine in the case of my father’s life.

As to inhibiting travel, I don’t see how the laws of any nation can do that in the case of criminal flight. Maybe they gin-up some notion that it’s pre-facto to a crime in Ireland, but it’s not plausible to “long arm” and prosecute for something that takes place lawfully in the UK.

Here’s where I see this going. I am from a generation where the women of my cohort were largely convinced by people with no actual stake in their well-being, that their ideal child-bearing years were in their late 30′s. Imagine these women’s deep, unstated feelings when they view the termination of human life in a way that was far more casual and easy than the effort it takes them to become pregnant – including the emotional gyration of not knowing if it possible, harmuful, etc., at their age.
When they have children, their view of the fleeting, often improbable phenomenon of creating life shows up the decades of angry shouting of it being a matter of the patriarchy wanting to force them to be servile, barefoot and pregnant for what they are: the interventions of outsiders with no stake in their well-being in their lives trying to use them as political tools.

In the end, it’s a matter of looking at law as a reflection of the lowest common denomination of human morality, and where the value of human life belongs in law.

So sure – leave it up to the women who are making that choice for themselves: but without the political programming that distracts them from making that decision at the meaningful level it should be made at.


 

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