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Abortion legislation in Ireland has united pro-lifers and split Enda Kenny’s own party

Among pro-lifers decades-old grudges have been dropped and people who weren’t on speaking terms are making plans with each other

By on Wednesday, 30 January 2013

An estimated 25,000 people joined a pro-life march in Dublin (Photo: PA)

An estimated 25,000 people joined a pro-life march in Dublin (Photo: PA)

Soon, an abortion Bill will travel through the Oireachtas, the two houses that together make up Ireland’s government. Our prime minister, Enda Kenny, wants legal grounds for an abortion if the baby’s mother is suicidal. He’s arguing that this will not, in everyday clinical practice, become “abortion on demand”. For most people, pro-life or pro-abortion, Kenny lacks credibility. This is the same politician who, prior to being elected in 2011, made a “promise” not to legislate for abortion, after which his party, Fine Gael, won by a landslide. Is his new pledge that allowing abortion in hard cases will not become “abortion on demand” as good as his pre-election promise of no abortion whatsoever?

With that in mind, approximately 25,000 people marched in Dublin’s city centre for the Unite for Life vigil on January 19. The most vocal chant was “Enda, keep your pro-life promise!” This phenomenally successful vigil was the fruit of a positive development that has occurred out of the glare of the mainstream media. Interpersonal difficulties between pro-lifers have been endemic in Ireland. But, during the Christmas just passed, I received news from friends telling me that they were putting aside their differences so that they could work with people of varying pro-life shades. That’s not to say that old injuries have healed, and that agreement has been reached on thorny issues such as which side you took in the 2002 referendum. But decades-old grudges have been dropped and people who were not on speaking terms are making plans with each other. Stopping abortion on demand is more important than sustaining quarrels. They know that if they don’t work together, abortion could be legalised and they risk living with regret that they did not mend relations. For this reason alone, they are a good example to British pro-lifers.

Greater unity has occurred in the pro-life camp, while there are signs of mutiny in Kenny’s own party. The older generation of Fine Gael party faithful are scandalised. Many of them would have grown up in the Archbishop McQuaid era, and would have learned by rote that abortion is a mortal sin. They may not have been able to brace the freezing winter chill and take part in the January 19 vigil, but they are shaken by the crude way Kenny dismisses the life of the unborn, and to his peril Kenny would want to realise that these voters (for the first time in their lives) may not vote Fine Gael and could unseat him in the next election.

And it’s not just the older “fuddy-duddy” Fine Gael voters. One of the bright young Fine Gael stars, 33-year-old Lucinda Creighton, an attractive and glamorous lady and steely politician, has a few more pro-life sympathies than her party’s leader. She worries that the provision of suicide as grounds for an abortion will “open the floodgates”, or mean “abortion on demand” as Kenny calls it. Let’s be clear that Creighton, a young politician, has stuck her neck out by defying her boss. Rather than see abortion on demand, she is putting her own political career in jeopardy.

Lest we forget, Kenny is pressing ahead for abortion for suicidal mothers, while ignoring the evidence presented at his government’s own public hearings, when every psychiatrist present testified before the Irish parliament that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal ideation or the condition of suicidality.

Would Kenny be more accurate were he to word the legislation as “abortion as an attempt to treat panic”?

It has to be said that a woman in a crisis pregnancy is often in such a frenzied panic that it’s easy for others to mistake or label her as suicidal. This was something that I witnessed first hand as a teenager when I had peers who were having crisis pregnancies and they would say, “I feel like I could die”, and “my parents will kill me” and “I’d feel better if I was dying”. Some of their pregnancies ended in abortion, but this only made the symptoms of anxiety, disquiet and self-harm worse.

It’s time to turn the tables on Kenny. If he’s so sure about legalising abortion for suicide, would he be able to locate Irish psychiatrists who are willing to testify that abortion solves suicidal tendencies or that it treats mental illness? Or why does he not invite women who have had abortions to testify whether an abortion improved their mental state?

You see, Kenny may well have misjudged the level of support for this legislation. It bears repeating that 25,000 people came to the pro-life rally – 125 times the number of pro-choice campaigners who came to a counter demonstration (they numbered only 200). Kenny’s plan of allowing for abortions in select cases will not placate these militant pro-abortionists. And pro-lifers will never trust him again. But now, if voters forsake him, and if more members of his own party revolt against the proposed legislation, then he and his proposed legislation could be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  • OldMeena

    ” This is the same politician who, prior to being elected in 2011, made a “promise” not to legislate for abortion, after which his party, Fine Gael, won by a landslide. ”

    I don’t know whether this is just me – but this sentence from the article seems to carry a strong suggestion that the landslide victory of Fine Gael was the result of the “promise”, rather than the unbelievable economic and financial  mess caused by the previous government.

    The organising skills behind the large turnout (largely with 3 placard types) of so-called “pro-life” supporters are considerable. However others have shown great skills in this art.

    But to cheer you up:
    A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico offered an extraordinary explanation for introducing a bill this week that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to full term.
    Foetuses that were the result of rape, said Cathrynn Brown, constituted “evidence of a crime”.If  House Bill 206 becomes law, a rape victim who ended her pregnancy would be charged with a third-degree felony for “tampering with evidence.”The bill says:Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a foetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.Third-degree felonies in New Mexico carry a sentence of up to three years in prison.

  • Alenn34

    Would Kenny be more accurate were he to word the legislation as “abortion as an attempt to treat panic”?jigolo

  • Frank

    Empty promises. I’ve heard that before somewhere..
    A pity Kenny didn’t meet Dr. Nathanson (or did he?) and has he heard of Norma McCorvey or Mary Wollenscraft? Is there anything even more sinister behind the abortion agenda? I ask because there is an organisation called which is well worth looking at. Just when you thought it couldn’t be any worse….

  • maxmarley

    Sadly Kenny is more concerned about placating his zeitgeist style European bosses. He won’t be considered an enlightened man until he becomes one of them.
    My suspicions are that traditional Irish social morality embarrasses him when he travels abroad, that the Irish are slow learners residing in dark age Tir na nog

  • kinkysox

    Enda Kenny and his cronies – er, Government – got it right smack between the eyes by the celebrant of the funeral mass of the Garda today (Wednesday) that was murdered last week – yeah, about cutting Garda numbers and leaving people vulnerable.

    More straight talking like this wouldn’t go amiss about this issue and others, including abortion.

    Enda is fooling himself and the nation if he thinks that this abortion legislation will not lead to abortion on demand.

    That’s what they said when the Abortion Act became law in the 1960′s – now Britain is the abortion capital of the world!

    Enda should cop himself on – what are the chances that he will?

  • Kevin

    “And it’s not just the older “fuddy-duddy” Fine Gael voters”

    Hey! Less of the “old”.

    I am sure these people were anti-abortion when they were younger fuddy-duddies too!

  • teigitur

    Very slim indeed.

  • CullenD

    If the Irish voted as if abortion were an issue, and if FG won a landslide. Then why are Fine Gael in a coalition with the pro-choice Labour party?

    This whole article is pretty much fantasy.

    Note the mention of a leading FG politician. One that’s so leading that she isn’t a TD and is unheard of in national politics.

  • CullenD

    OOPS, she is a TD. Just not one that’s come to national notice.

  • Thérèse

     May he is one of the “enlightened ones” already. Maybe he’s on the way to having illuminating ideas. Or maybe he proposes this as an illuminated idea.

  • scary goat

    Back in the 80s I had a friend….long since lost contact with her…..who was pushed into 3 abortions by her unscrupulous boyfriend. The third was late term. She damaged her cervix and there was doubt whether she could carry another pregnancy naturally later.  The boyfriend left her in the end anyway.  I was a bit shocked and sickened when I heard particularly about the late term abortion and protested…I thought they wouldn’t do that?  Not that late?  She said they will…they’ll do anything if you tell them you are suicidal.  Suicide is an excuse for abortion on demand.  Don’t buy it Irish people.  Fight it all the way.

  • Brendan Greally

    Enda will talk about the wider picture…the world at large and what is acceptable across the channel. Know this, The west is dying fast. Britain and Europe is swarmed by immigrants. Te immigrants are having children. The locals are not. The natives who swallowed contraceptives and accepted abortion as a growth experience, are now dying. They are being replaced. In their place are people who invest in their old country. Demographically the west has built up huge debts forgetting that children are our hope, our future. Does Ireland want to go the way of the west or should she remain pro life, pro children, pro family?  

  • Jh

    I just have to reply to that. I live in Lyon, France, and right enough one does get the impression that it’s slowly becoming an Arab city. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing whatsoever against the Arabs, but the French have had 40 years of abortion and contraception, it’s BOUND to make a gaping hole in the population, it’s pure maths, the Arabs are having more children. I fear for my native Ireland, the country is at a MAJOR crossroad.

  • Parasum

     Maybe he doesn’t think Catholic priests & bishop who destroy the young are worthy of respect or credence. If Ireland is morally backward, the clergy can take a lot of the credit. Who wouldn’t be embarrassed by a “morality” that allows priests & bishops to destroy the young ? Morality ? If that’s morality, the clergy are a plague & a cancer, and need to be cut out, ASAP.

  • Chrispembroke

    You know what I actually hate that childish term “Limited Abortion”. If you pick a person and you murder them then you have murdered them there is no such thing as one millionth murder of a person nor one third murder of a person. murder is murder which is murder. The same with abortion if you murder a person using abortion then you have murdered you dont have limited murder nor partial murder you have murder. Abortion is abortion which is abortion there is no such thing as limited abortion.