So, the country voted to remove the right to life of the unborn in all circumstances from the constitution. Something that will not save a single life, but will result in the destruction of so many. The Yes side could not find a single example of the eighth amendment being responsible for a death. If they had one they would have used it. Instead, they dressed up a couple of stories where this had not actually happened.
Back in March last year polls indicated opposition to repealing the right to life but there was support for a further amendment to allow abortion in certain hard cases. Instead of pursuing the will of the public, which should happen in a democracy, the government took the propaganda approach, setting up the Citizen’s Assembly, which was easily lead to a pre-ordained conclusion. An amendment would have altered the constitution so that legislation would stand up to a constitutional challenge. I’ve been told by acquaintances on the Yes side that this is not possible, but here they show their ignorance. By voting yes, article 40.3.3 of the constitution was removed and replaced with “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.” The amendment has been amended, only it has been replaced with a blank cheque for parliament to do as they please without again asking the people. It could easily have been changed to specifically allow for any number of hard cases, with people having a vote on each one. Something similar happened in the abortion referendum of 1992, where the people were asked to vote yes or no on three separate issues. For those happy with unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks it could also have allowed for that, but prevented parliament from extending it without a further referendum. To counter this argument and push people who wanted change to vote for repeal, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that this was a once in a generation vote that would not be revisited. Who is he to deny the people the change they actually want? As the leader of a democracy it’s his duty to pursue the will of the people. So far there have been referenda on abortion-related issues in 1983, 1992, 2002 and 2018, with six amendments voted on. That’s without the huge appetite for change that there is out there right now. Varadkar has misused his position to get what he wanted. This should not be a surprise (the reality is that the wheels of any system of government turn more for those at the controls), but it’s something the people should expect and question.
It’s very disappointing that my fellow citizens were so easily lead and cannot see (or perhaps do not care about?) the moral quandary that arises when the rights of two human beings come into conflict. When it comes to life, there is no conflict – the life of the woman is paramount and abortion is permitted. When it comes to health, treatment is not withheld. The debate was almost exclusively about hard cases, and often hard cases misrepresented as something they were not (that the existing amendment was responsible for the deaths of women). Abortion itself does result in the death of the mother in rare (but documented) cases (one in England and Wales in 2016 and 2015 (see page 21) and one in 2012, even though official statistics report none for that year). The soon-to-be-repealed article 40.3.3 has not caused a single documented death. Hard cases make bad law, unless the law is specifically for those hard cases. The legislation that will be enacted following this amendment to the constitution is a bad law.
Ireland hasn’t changed much since unmarried mothers were sent away by their families to squalorous workhouses. Back then there was a mob rule and those who stood up against the wrongs of society were attacked, ostracised and silenced. It’s the same today, only the mob leaders have changed. Tolerance is ostensibly promoted, but only as long as you toe the line. As has happened so many times in recent human history (Pol Pot’s Year Zero being an extreme example), the young have proved very pliable and have lapped up the fashionable propaganda. I would encourage them to think more critically about how best to achieve the change they desire next time. Enthusiasm is great but can easily be manipulated. Not that it isn’t impossible for somebody to logically conclude that the killing of babies for no grave reason is perfectly fine all by themselves, but in that case we have nothing to talk about (and we probably wouldn’t ever like each other very much).
The Yes side has been particularly annoyed about alleged external influence on the No campaign, but not at all worried about interference from George Soros, the Council of Europe, the UN and Justin Trudeau. In reality the campaign began a long time before its official start and was even shaped and driven by these events. To be clear, electoral wrongdoing is wrong no matter who does it. To be only interested in the sins of your opponents is nothing but tribalism.
The quest for the truth that you have within you should be an exploration of your values – an attempt to understand the basis for them and perhaps change them. Since the Yes campaign’s main driver has been human rights, I think it very fair to say that those who have voted yes have fundamentally misunderstood their own values. Human rights for some, but none for other humans.
I’ll end with a quote from somebody else, which I thought was quite insightful (taken from this article):
EV McFinnity 26 May 2018 8:44PM
A very liberal abortion regime has always been the goal of the international abortion lobby. Its template has been very successful so far in every country where it has been employed.
The formula is simple. Find some rare tragic cases and exploit them mercilessly. Create confusion in the public mind. Get the celebrities, journalists and media trendies on board. Smear your opponents as backward and regressive. Above all, keep repeating the compassion mantra. It works every time.
The constant use of the word “choice”, the epitome of consumer culture, would be more appropriately confined to the aisles of our supermarkets. It should not be part of medically, morally or ethically determining the fate of an unborn child.
Almost the whole of the debate was been confined to the “hard cases”, that make up less than 2% of abortions. If they were genuinely concerned about the “hard cases” they would have asked the electorate to amend the Constitution with an additional sub section, Article 40.3.4 that simply states
“Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 40.3.3, provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies involving cases of fatal foetal abnormality, incest and rape”.
They would not give the people that choice. It would prevent them from enacting a very liberal abortion regime.
There was also a myth promoted that, the lack of access to abortion endangers the life of the mother. Strange that Ireland ranks high in world rankings as a safe place to give birth. Higher than the UK that has a liberal abortion regime.
The Halappanavar case to mislead was used to effect by the pro abortion lobby. The facts:
The death occurred in Galway, in a hospital that a few months earlier had been excoriated by HIQA, the Irish health quality authority, for its shoddy birth care practises. The death occurred on a bank holiday weekend when senior staff were missing and there was a failure to make decisions.
A government inquiry was headed by Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St. George’s University of London, an Indian pro choice person. The inquiry concluded that concluded that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution did not prevent the hospital from making proper decisions to prevent the death. Because the Report did not come up with the “right decision”, the government caved in to two further inquiries. They both came to the same conclusion, that Article 40.3.3 was not a factor in her death.
A case that did not suit the pro abortion argument received less exposure last month by a compliant media.
The countries with liberal abortion regimes, especially, the UK and US, are trying to row back. Ireland is a culturally immature society. Like adolescents, craving to appear “modern”, they indulge in OTT gestures to demonstrate modernity. This was a prime example of such behaviour.