More one-sided debates on abortion

As an avid collector of ironies, I hit the jackpot last week. Liberal media commentators were horrified that Pope Francis didn’t see a problem with slapping children for corrective purposes, but actively argued for aborting more children by widening Irish abortion laws!

The latest wave in this debate started Wednesday of last week with a documentary on BBC 3. With a loaded title like Abortion: Ireland’s Guilty Secret?you got a clear sense of where they were coming from. The question mark was a pathetic fig leaf.

Mind you, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Young pro-lifers from Youth Defence came across very well, articulate and committed, though I wondered why the more political side, like the Pro-Life Campaign, didn’t figure, and the caring pro-life groups didn’t get a look in either.

They did show a few video clips of the baby in the womb, which was welcome, but glossed over what happens during a surgical abortion. Ironic, in a programme about abortion, that they didn’t better explain what an abortion actually involves!

Presenter Alys Harte was neutral at times, and certainly not a strident pro-choice campaigner, but she over used the f-word (fetus), which serves to dehumanise the baby, and at one stage she expressed her agreement with one of the pro-choice banners. I doubt if they were conscious of the irony when she interviewed a tearful Kitty Holland of The Irish Times – behind Holland was this statement of the Irish Times Trust: “The news shall be as accurate and as comprehensive as is practicable and be presented fairly”. This is not my experience of the paper on the abortion issue.

It was ironic also to hear pro-choice people, and also the presenter, referring to women “having to” go to England for abortions, as if they had no choice in the matter.

One of the central characters on the pro-choice side was Tara from Cork, who got pregnant but that didn’t suit her travel plans, especially a road trip to the USA. In tears after the abortion in England, she felt guilty about being relieved but persisted in her pro-choice stance.


Tara rightly asked to be treated as human, but I thought it was rather sad that she didn’t extend the same attitude to the baby.

Harte made much of the voices of women not being heard on the issue, but why didn’t she feature those women who regret their abortions, or those who were pressurised by boyfriends or doctors into abortions, or those who were damaged physically or mentally by abortions?

One woman did suffer physically as she went home too early after the ‘procedure’, but, instead of raising the responsibility of the clinic or the others directly involved, the blame was put on the nasty Irish politicians for not allowing babies’ lives to be terminated at home.

When the coverage of that film died down, it was all whipped up again when Clare Daly TD rode her latest Trojan horse abortion bill into Dáil Éireann last Friday. Newstalk’s Lunchtime show that day had several speakers in favour of abortion in the fatal fetal abnormality cases and no one against. On last Sunday’s This Week programme (RTÉ1) presenter Áine Lawlor was fair, for example suggesting that those who had precious but short time with their babies after birth would be upset to hear talk of abortion, but on that programme and every other programme I heard, the only opposition to Daly’s bill was political not principled, from those who supported its intentions but made it out to be unconstitutional. This show among others featured Richard Boyd Barrett’s Dáil speech outlining the touching story of his daughter Ella who had died shortly after birth.

More irony there, in that it seems she was given the chance to live her short life but Boyd-Barrett was now campaigning in support of those wishing to take that right away.

I thought his logic was flawed to say the least – that the babies who were “incompatible with life” (aren’t we all to some extent?) couldn’t therefore have their lives protected? Sense or no-sense?

Where were those who would defend the baby’s rights? The children’s rights brigade was strangely silent and I noted this quote from the Dáil debates “as there are no more speakers offering…” 

Were there no TDs to take a pro-life/anti-abortion position? Democratic deficit or what!


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