Ireland’s election result is no stepping stone to abortion rights. It’s a roadblock

Mar 22, 2016

Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA

By Emer O’Toole

Something has shifted in Ireland’s attitude to abortion. I see it in the opinions my friends express online, in conversations with my loved ones, even the timbre of the comments below pro-choice articles. This is borne out by empirical evidence too. Last July, an Amnesty poll found that 81% of Irish people favour more liberal abortion legislation; in October, an Irish Times poll found that 68% of people want a referendum on the eighth amendment, which enshrines the equal right to life of women and the unborn; and, just days ago, a second Amnesty poll found that 87% of people want access to abortion expanded, while 69% believe it should be a priority for the next government.

Legislation introduced in 2013 stipulates that the unborn’s right to life begins at implantation. To change the constitution, we need a referendum. Until we get one, the misogynistic ideology that a clump of differentiating cells holds moral parity with a woman remains the law of the land.

Over the last year, feminists in Ireland have been campaigning passionately for an abortion referendum, tapping into the progressive political current that carried Ireland’s marriage equality referendum to triumph in May 2015.

Tara Flynn, Róisín Ingle, Helen Linehan, and Susan Cahill bravely shared their abortion stories publicly. The activist group Rosa (for Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism & Austerity) toured the island on an ‘abortion pill bus’, providing banned medication to those in need, risking prison sentences of up to 14 years.

With wicked humour, the performance group Speaking of Imelda (Speaking of Ireland Making England the Legal Destination for Abortion) served the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, a pair of bright red knickers for choice at a fundraising dinner, while the comedian Gráinne Maguire convinced us all to tweet her details of our periods.

The annual march for choice is growing each year, and new pro-choice groups are popping up in every county.


Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/09/ireland-election-abortion-rights-campaign

9 comments on “Ireland’s election result is no stepping stone to abortion rights. It’s a roadblock

  • @OP – Something has shifted in Ireland’s attitude to abortion. I see it in the opinions my friends express online, in conversations with my loved ones, even the timbre of the comments below pro-choice articles. This is borne out by empirical evidence too. Last July, an Amnesty poll found that 81% of Irish people favour more liberal abortion legislation;

    They still need to dig the country out from under decades of Catholic priest-ridden theocracy, while the die-hards try to drag the country back into the dark ages!



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  • Since most abortions occur naturally, It’s a wee bit surprising that The RCC doesn’t rail against their God snuffing out all those lovely babies ? Ah that’s where “sin” and “mysterious ways” kicks in then ?



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  • @mr-darcy

    Indeed. From Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s seminal essay (no pun intended) –

    “A sperm and an unfertilized egg jointly comprise the full genetic blueprint for a human being. Under certain circumstances, after fertilization, they can develop into a baby. But most fertilized eggs are spontaneously miscarried. Development into a baby is by no means guaranteed. Neither a sperm and egg separately, nor a fertilized egg, is more than a potential baby or a potential adult. So if a sperm and egg are as human as the fertilized egg produced by their union, and if it is murder to destroy a fertilized egg–despite the fact that it’s only potentially a baby–why isn’t it murder to destroy a sperm or an egg?”



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  • I’m really surprised an organization that claims to be based on science would wade into a topic where they will lose the debate based on science. It’s not a baby, right? Just tissue? Except the “tissue” can live outside the womb beginning at about 20 weeks, and ever improving science will continue to back that number down. Then you move some supporting science to just making a moral decision that a child doesn’t have the right to live if the mother doesn’t think it should.



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  • Wesley #4
    Mar 23, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I’m really surprised an organization that claims to be based on science would wade into a topic where they will lose the debate based on science. It’s not a baby, right? Just tissue?

    That’s right! The Catholic claim on which restrictions on contraception and abortion are based ridiculously claims that it is “a baby” from conception when it is a microscopic zygote – a bunch of undifferentiated cells!

    Except the “tissue” can live outside the womb beginning at about 20 weeks,

    Except that the vast percentage of zygotes – especially deformed ones, never develop into live babies even without abortions. Many at 20 weeks die at or shortly after birth, or have disabilities due to lack of maturity.

    and ever improving science will continue to back that number down.

    Why should it?
    Below a certain level of maturity and development, essential organs will not function!

    Then you move some supporting science to just making a moral decision that a child doesn’t have the right to live if the mother doesn’t think it should.

    The fact that religious ignoramuses call a zygote, a blastocyst, an embryo, or a foetus, a “child”, is just semantic nonsense – not science!

    https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm

    A foetus is not a baby until it can (or does) survive beyond birth to continue development.
    Most codes of practice and science based laws, discourage late term abortions unless done for medical reasons.

    Where there are social reasons, people should be able to make up their minds soon enough, unless obstructionists create problems with the services to cause delays.



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  • 6

    The fact that religious ignoramuses call a zygote, a blastocyst, an
    embryo, or a foetus, a “child”, is just semantic nonsense – not
    science!

    Coupled with their demands include banning contraceptives as well as LGBT, it is clear that their main objection is sex, not the saving of lives. Of course a zygote is not a person nor a “baby.” A total absurdity. It truly results from religious ignoramuses.



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  • If contraceptives were free and completely legal, there would be no need for abortions. But why on earth would women want to use contraceptives in the first place??? Back to Augustine of Hippo.



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