One of the most annoying parts of the abortion debate in Ireland is the constant decrying of “it’s a very divisive issue!” as an excuse for avoiding doing anything. Yet the reality is that it is a very divisive issue with the population divided from no abortion in any case to abortion on demand, and with a parliament struggling to square the circle and not piss off one group or another.
Why not have a preferendum? What’s that? It’s where a referendum has more than just a Yes/No answer. Why not put four or five options on a ballot paper, therefore allowing every voter a chance of voting for what they really want and then transferring to what they will accept, until one option gets 50% support. It’s how we vote in presidential elections, so why not on an issue as contentious as this?
At least the answer will be clear, decisive, and supported by a majority of those who vote, and everybody from SPUC to Ivana Bacik will have an opportunity to get their favoured option proposed directly to the people.