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Ireland and Abortion

Abortion (the direct killing of the unborn) has always been illegal in Ireland under all circumstances. Under pressure from the Irish and European courts for some years now Ireland is being forced to clarify its position on the matter. The government has proposed a Bill which many consider the thin edge of the wedge. It is strangely called: Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.  This has given rise to a vicious debate among us. Protests and marches are taking place all over the country.

The matter is too serious to be dealt with in this type of superficial blog. But we in Wexford have also taken to the streets. Yesterday a small group of American young people arrived in town on a pro-life campaign. They have undertaken to walk right around the coast of Ireland protesting the introduction of the Bill which they consider anti-life.

Polls seem to say that people are in favour of the Bill, but https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=G0ZZJXw4MTA


Photo courtesy Tomás Hayes


For us here in the USA it it the opposition of two opposing ways of thinking about any thing not just abortion. There are absolutists who think there is a right way everyone should follow. There are those who think that people have different values and that one person's absolute view should not be imposed on another's dissenting view.

I am not a person who demonstrates. I hold that those who want to have a right to do so. I'm not sure how helpful it is.
I don't want any woman to have an abortion if she doesn't want one, but the law as it stands in England and Wales gives women the choice. The death of a small cluster of cells is often the lesser of two evils. I therefore absolutely support the right of those who, for whatever reason, cannot cope with the burden of pregnancy, birth and a lifetime of raising a child.

Men never have to fear becoming pregnant. If they shared the risk, then they would be entitled to a say, but they don't. I therefore feel that a patriarchal church, run by men for men, imposing their will on another human being is very very wrong. Especially when that other human being may not even belong to the same faith.

Sorry. I know it's something you feel strongly about, but so do I.
It's not called "pro abortion".
It's called Pro Choice.
Women should have the choice of what happens in their bodies.
It is not "a baby" until after viability. Before that here is a parasite in the body of a woman.
It is a situation men can never know.
Thankfully I never had to make the choice but I could not prevent another woman from having the right to a choice.
You are correct, it is far too serious an issue to be dealt with lightly in a blog. My personal belief is that there are occasions that warrant it, though as I have seven children, obviously it is not an option I ever took upon for myself.
It's called "protection of life" because it's about protecting the lives of the women for whom pregnancy in general or sometimes a specific pregnancy is a killing condition.
Lives are not equal.
Does that mean you agree that the life of a living woman, perhaps a mother with small children who need her, is of more value that the unformed that is within her?
I am a lesbian, and, as such, I have not been with a man since 1982. In 1984, a man already wanted for murder came into my apartment building and tried all of the doors until he found one that was unlocked. The woman in that apartment was raped repeatedly all night long, and her boyfriend, who was also there, was terrorized by this armed murderer.

It just as easily could have been me. I was in Apt. 1, she was in Apt. 4. He must have tried my door first.

Being a lesbian, I would not have been on any kind of birth control. Being that this was a completely random act on his part, there is no way that anyone could say that I was "asking for it".

Had it been me, and had I gotten pregnant, to me, it is a horrifying thought that I would have then had to endure 9 months of carrying that child, followed by the knowledge of, the rest of my life, that I brought into the world the child of a murderer.

Bottom line is, I know this is an important issue for you, but, for me, I am very happy that I live in a country where I can not only live openly as gay, but that I could get a legal abortion if I needed one.

If I were Catholic, perhaps I would feel differently. However, I'm not Catholic, and my views are in no way contrary to my church's.
Thank you for your contribution. I still hold that the DIRECT killing of an INNOCENT unborn must be wrong under ANY circumstances. (Sorry about using capitals, it is the only way my computer allows me indicate what I consider important).
Perhaps it is too serious a matter to be dealt within a blog, although that does not stop extremists from both sides from doing so. On the other hand, one ofthe things I appreciate about your blog is your being willing to put some complex Issues out there for discussion.

Part of what makes abortion a thorny issue is that the two sides are talking past each other. One says that it is an issue of choice, the other that it is an issue of protection of life. It certainly is not a male-female issue. If one looks at the picture of prolife marchers you've posted, half are women. A similar picture of prochoice marchers would also show a mix.

The crux of the matter is defining what is "a human life," versus "a cluster of cells." As a cleric, you might define the issue as "when does ensoulment take place?" Non-theologians are essentially asking the same question without reference to a soul, and so phrase it in terms of when is this a sentient being, or when can it feel pain, or when can it survive as an independent life form. (I suppose I should write "he/she" instead of "it" but that gets tedious to keep writing, especially on a tablet computer.) The US Supreme Court actually did address that in the landmark "pro abortion" Wade vs Roe ruling (and subsequent other rulings). They did not say all abortion on demand is legal. They said before a certain point it was legal as being a matter of choice. Beyond that point (I don't recall exactly what point they used as their definition), you were dealing with a human life and it is protected.
Thank you. It is a very difficult subject. A blog like this can only raise issues, not pontificate.
The idea of "life" at conception is new.
Traditionally the embryo/fetus was not considered alive until it "quickened", until movement was felt.
The essence of the supreme court decision was viability. The fetus must be able to live on its own independent of the mother to be a baby human.

No woman wants to have an abortion. Circumstances make it necessary.
No one forces a woman to have an abortion (except in totalitarian states)
I can not understand how one person or group can force their moral opinion on another who does not share that opinion.
Why is a clump of cells considered a life?
Why would killing the mother to "save" a being that might not live be right?
Why would bringing an unwanted life into the world be right?
What is the greater good in these situations?
Should we not always strive for the greater good?
I have one last thing to say on this subject, and it is to do directly with the photo you posted. I can see at least seven yellow t-shirts in this group, I assume they are the people who have traveled from the United States of America to protest Irish people choosing or not choosing, to change Irish laws.

What rights do they have to push their agenda on to the Irish people? What rights do they have to control the actions of others in other countries? Every minute of every day four children die from the lack of proper nutrition (especially in their first two years of life, that lack leaves them with a compromised immune system for the rest of their, usually short, life) A cheap flight from Los Angles to Dublin ranges from seven hundred and ninety five pounds to one thousand and nineteen pounds. And they still have to pay for accommodation, meals and drinks while they are taking their protest against the Irish people having any choice in the matter of changing their own laws.

If these people really are pro-life, why are they not using that kind of money to help any of the 30,000 children aged under five who die each year from preventable diseases owing to poverty and poor nutrition. or any of the 15,000 + children (80% of whom are aged under four)who die from abuse each year? What efforts are the Pro-life group putting in to stopping the (on average) 207,754 rapes and sexual assaults that occur in America alone each year? Statistics for Northern Ireland show it happens to three women every two days, what steps are being taken to ensure those women are actually no longer at risk? In India a rape occurs every 20 minutes. As long as the Pro life group only step in to stop others from having any choice at all, then they are not pro-life. They are Pro Control of all others.
"What rights do they have to push their agenda on to the Irish people? What rights do they have to control the actions of others in other countries?"

Yes, I agree. Only those who are in favour of abortion have rights to "push" their agenda. They are the ones who want the change of law.

Edited at 2013-06-19 09:44 (UTC)