Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The abortion post

I wasn't going to write this post. But then I watched Vincent Browne last night and followed the #vinb twitter feed. And it was ugly. Both of them. So here I am writing a post that I don't really want to because I feel I have to.
Yesterday evening a meeting was held in the Gresham marking the 20th anniversary of the X Case which has lead to the abortion laws, or lack thereof, in Ireland at the moment. I've mentioned this before, but the Irish Supreme Court, the ECHR and two failed referenda have made it pretty clear that the Oireachtas has to legislate in line with the X Case and the more recent C case as well. Following the meeting, Vincent Browne hosted a debate on his TV3 show on the topic, featuring two panelists from each side of the issue.
I'm never going to (can't) have an abortion, I'm not going to have to carry out an abortion, I'm not going to have to professionally council a women before or after having an abortion. But I do know people who have traveled abroad to have them and have understood their reasons for doing so.
I am firmly pro-choice. And that's the key word - choice. Nobody is looking to make abortion compulsory. If you don't want to avail of the service then don't have one. But people have the right to chose and the choice shouldn't have to be shrouded in some faux-medical emergency. We need to move away from the "I was going to kill myself" line of thinking and be open and honest about it. If a woman wants to terminate the embryo in her womb then that's her prerogative and neither the state nor conservative pressure groups should not be allowed control her uterus.
The argument is made that the other half of the equation isn't given a choice - ie the embryo, or baby depending on how emotive you want to make the discussion. this is true. But neither is the embryo when the morning after pill is dispensed. Or the potential embryo when a woman is prescribe the regular pill. Or the potential embryo when every teenage boy spends half an hour in the bathroom. So in having legislated for the contraception and the morning after, society has accepted that a chemical and biological reaction does not a legal person make.
Now all that's left to do is determine where the line is between a clump of cells and a fully fledged person. That change happens, by definition somewhere in the 40 weeks between the initial fertilization and birth and I don't know when that is. However, I would think that the line is somewhere around the time where the embryo becomes somewhat (say 30% survival) viable outside the womb with modern technology to help and I guess that's somewhere around week 20-25. If some knowledgeable medic has the figures I'd be only too happy to change my timetable.
The current scare mongering, to which I was repeatedly exposed last night, was that the X case could allow for full term abortion to occur. Now, having just gone along the pregnancy journey with my wife, there is no way that a woman would last 39 weeks and then say "Fuck it, I've had enough. Let's abort this thing." That is just an asinine statement and exposes the anti-choice campaign for the nutters they are.
The hypocrisy of the Irish abortion regime has to stop. All it is doing is keeping Ryanair and Stena in profits as we export the problem to another jurisdiction. I applaud Clare Daly for introducing her Termination of Pregnancy bill today and hope that the Labour backbenchers support her as they promised to do in both the Election Manifesto and the Programme for Government in introducing legislation for the X case. I will be writing to my local TDs asking them to do so.

No comments:

Post a Comment