Just last week I took part in a radio discussion on Red FM with Doris Murphy of the Abortion Rights Campaign. The topic was the ill-fated criticism of the Eighth Amendment by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he of the trendy socks and the country without any restrictions on abortion.
You can listen back to the debate at this link.
A couple of things to note:
Justin Trudeau’s comments in Canada came about due to the #justinformleo hashtag which was spread on Twitter for the few days before Leo Varadkar’s trip. It’s one of those common enough things at this stage – Irish pro-choice advocates, taking on the collective role of political prisoner/freedom fighter in Ireland and pleading for help from abroad. Unfortunately, this idea falls short on a number of scores. First, they don’t really want Justin to inform Leo. That would involve throwing open the doors of Canada’s grotesque abortion record – abortion up to birth, some 50 babies surviving abortion and being left to die alone every year – so it’s not about that. It’s just about creating yet another opportunity to criticise Ireland’s life-saving pro-life laws. The second reason is even more revealing. As Doris freely admits, she wasn’t sure of the law in Canada. Which begs the question – if the Abortion Rights Campaign aren’t sure of the law in Canada, why are they asking Justin Trudeau to “inform” our Taoiseach? With all due respect, you might think the ARC would inform themselves on Canada’s situation first before promoting it on social media but like I say, this is not really about information.
I have to say this again. Scientists and doctors are not confused on when life begins. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re religious or not. Human life begins at fertilisation. Egg meets sperm. 100% of the DNA that human being will have during his or her lifetime is present. It’s a life – and a human life, not a plant, not an animal, not a potential life. After that, by all means if you’re going to push the ending of that life through abortion, then start making value judgements about when you’re going to say that life should earn rights. Apply arbitrary rules. Invent milestones that suddenly confer the right to be born. That’s what every pro-choice campaigner has ever done in the history of this debate, and it’s what they’ll no doubt continue to do. But it won’t change the irrefutable scientific fact that EGG + SPERM = FERTILISATION = NEW HUMAN LIFE.
The phrase “as early as possible, as late as necessary” popped up. It is meaningless and just another way of saying what the pro-choice movement in Ireland wants i.e. abortion on request/demand.
It’s interesting that the question of time limits is given so little importance. People are uncomfortable with time limits, we’re told – with good reason. After all, the larger a baby grows in the womb, the more difficult it is to describe him or her as a “clump of cells”. And then there’s the wrangling over the terms “foetus, embryo, zygote…” Anything except “baby” or “human being”.
There is something quite facetious about the way pro-choice campaigners try to ignore the devasation wrought by abortion on the international community of people with Down Syndrome or any disability. There’s a real attempt to shut down debate by telling you you’re “exploiting” them. How? By insisting that a consitutional provision that protects their rights should stay in place? That’s not “exploitation” but I can well understand why the ARC is uncomfortable with the argument. Who wants to be on the side of the debate that has seen people with Down Syndrome have to fight for their right not to be screened out before birth? I’d very much rather live in a country where the rights of people with disabilities weren’t threatened by a few vocal groups who are doing all they can to muster international support against the Eighth Amendment. But that’s the world we live in. Far better than we speak up for the rights of the vulnerable while we still can. In countries like Canada, defending the right to life is very much an uphill battle. Thankfully in Ireland, we have the Eighth Amendment.
I thought this was quite a worthwhile debate and fair dues to Cork’s Red FM for hosting it. See what you think and leave a comment if you feel like it.