I spent more hours than was healthy watching Oireachtas TV coverage of the Dáil debates on the Report of the Committee on the Eighth Amendment. It was not encouraging.
First off the overwhelming majority of contributors were strongly pro-choice and seemed completely oblivious to the existence of a baby in a pregnancy situation.
Clare Daly TD declared that abortion was “not about killing unborn babies”. Seriously? Several included the phrase “let’s be honest” in their speeches, and proceeded, in my opinion, to fall well short of that standard.
Several lamented the tactless mail they got from pro-lifers and ignored the crass extremism of repeal activists. How convenient. Some called for respectful debate and then denigrated the other side. Logic wasn’t their strong point, e.g. people are using illegal abortion pills so we must legalise them (try that argument on other issues, like people getting other illegal drugs online, or weapons), or: it was terrible what happened to the Tuam babies and the Kerry babies, so we must make amends by taking the right to life away from other babies.
Jonathan O’Brien TD (SF) said that everybody in Dail Éireann was pro-life, and that everybody in Dáil Éireann was pro-choice. He said we couldn’t afford to legislate according to our conscience (sound of SF whip cracking in background). Jan O’Sullivan (Lab) wanted “all women and girls to realise their full potential” but didn’t explain how aborted girls would manage that.
Kate O’Connell lost the plot altogether with her anti-Catholic diatribe. She lamented the “poor little outcasts” from the Tuam workhouse, oblivious to the poor little outcasts that will be created if the Eighth Amendment is repealed. Supporters of the Eighth were few in that first week of the debate, with Peter Fitzpatrick, John Paul Phelan and the Healy Raes leading the charge, but hopefully things will have improved this week – I was encouraged by the opposition to the proposed abortion measures from John McGuinness (FF) on last weekend’s Saturday With Claire Byrne and from Michael McGrath (FF) on last Monday’s Today With Sean O’Rourke.
Deputy O’Connell was interviewed on the Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk) on Tuesday morning of last week when she wanted abortions done “in a community setting” and reduced unborn children to “womb contents” subject to “expulsion”.
By contrast, on Wednesday morning’s Newstalk Breakfast Peadar Tóibín TD articulately supported the right to life of all people and expressed concerns about the targeting of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down’s syndrome.
Pro-choice people don’t get robustly challenged by interviewers in the media and because they’re not used to it I find they get quite rattled when it does happen. Sen. Catherine Noone, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment seemed very uneasy on Today With Sean O’Rourke (RTÉ Radio 1) last Thursday.
She made out that the unborn child was ‘at the centre’ of the committee’s deliberations, but when O’Rourke asked her what passages in her report supported that claim, her only answer was “I don’t have the report in front of me”. Later, ably questioned by Maria Steen of the Iona Institute she accepted that “of course abortion means the termination of a child’s life”. Asked if that child has the right to live she said: “I look at the reality of the situation.” What?
Friday sees a roundup of the week on Today with Seán O’Rourke and the Pat Kenny Show. On the former Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign went to bat for equality, while on the latter David Quinn did the honours. Worth listening back.
Another worthwhile debate took place last weekend on TV3’s Sunday Show, when Declan Ganley and Bobby Aylward debated with Alison O’Connor and Richard Boyd Barrett. Presenter Sarah McInerney asked some pertinent questions and certainly seemed to get Ganley’s point about the pro-life perspective being poorly represented in the Dáil.
For pro-lifers who wanted a some encouragement after all this negativity towards our life affirming ethic, EWTN’s comprehensive live coverage, last Friday, of the annual March For Life in Washington was wonderful.
Here were hugely enthusiastic young pro-lifers, along with confident politicians speaking out unapologetically in favour of the rights of unborn children.
As usual mainstream media coverage of the event was sparse, and what there was seemed prompted by President Trump’s address to the gathering rather than the inherent newsworthiness of the event itself.
Pick of the week
WALK FOR LIFE WEST COAST
EWTN, Saturday, January 27, 7.30 pm
Live coverage of San Francisco’s largest pro-life event, including speeches, and special interviews with dynamic pro-life leaders and walk participants.
JOY OF MUSIC
EWTN, Monday (night), January 29, 4 am
Diane Bish and guest, Joy Brown Wiener, perform at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland.
The Leap of Faith
RTÉ Radio 1, Friday, February 2, 10 pm
Topical religious and ethical issues with Michael Comyn.