Last week, of the ironically named “People” before Profit put a motion before Derry and Strabane Council which conflated the separate issues of marriage and decriminalising abortion. The motion was carried by seventeen votes to ten. There were many abstentions, presumably members either confused, or afraid of being called a choose-your-phobic, or denying the “choice” to end a human life. At the same council meeting, a motion was passed unanimously to prevent cruelty to animals.
Decriminalising abortion means the removal of all rights and protections in law from preborn humans.
Since then, in the parliament of Westminster, the decriminalisation of abortion has been imposed here in the north by politicians not one of whom was elected to represent us. Any six county MPs who were present voted against. Whatever your views on the question of abortion law, this is an assault on democracy. Little wonder we Irish, Britain’s first and last colony, don’t have much regard for the process.
Incredibly, erstwhile republicans lobbied in Westminster for such an outcome. New Sinn Féin’s leaders travelled, on three separate occasions, to ask that parliament legislate on this, despite claiming not to recognise the mother of parliament’s authority here.
The SDLP, anxious not to be out virtue-signalled went along too.
PBP, to be fair have at least been consistent on this. Their ideology is firmly based in their communist roots. The USSR was the first regime to offer abortion to the masses. PBP only put some people before some profit. The obscene returns of the multibillion-pound abortion industry, or the fact that many of the campaigns to decriminalise abortion are funded by the extreme right don’t seem to trouble them.
As an Irish Republican, I want self-determination for the people I represent. Many of us who witnessed the pain which the decades of struggle for national sovereignty caused our families and communities now wonder, watching these antics, what was it all about?
Despite the oft repeated mantra, abortion is not health care. Ireland, pre-January 2017 had one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world, and Irish obstetricians were world- leaders in their field. The assertion that our pro-life laws here in the north have saved 100,000 of our peoples’ lives since the introduction of the 1968 act in Britain has been upheld in court.
Irish doctors repeatedly testified that they never were prevented from acting in the best interests of a mother by the constitution. But those other medics, some with financial interests in the abortion industry, won the hearts and minds of a compliant and shameless media.
A heart transplant has been successfully undertaken in a pregnant woman. Cancer chemotherapy is now routine. With regard to mental health issues, robust evidence exists to show that pregnancy is protective against mental health problems such as depression and that suicide and self-harm rates fall sharply. Conversely a study in Finland study published recently showed a six times higher rate of completed suicide in women who aborted their babies as compared to those who gave birth. In none of the medical literature is abortion provision cited as a treatment for mental illness. But ideologues don’t do science.
Sepsis is, after haemorrhage the commonest cause of maternal mortality worldwide. The mis-management of sepsis took the life of Ms Hallapinavar, and enquiries into her tragic death recommended a new maternity strategy to prevent further such failures. Since the law change in the south two women have died in Irish Maternity Hospitals, with nary a word, never mind candlelit vigils, and tear-jerking newspaper editorials. The funding to implement the recommended strategy to improve maternal health was cut by Simon Harris, to fund abortion provision. Again, the media largely were silent.
And what about the babies, those other members of the human family who are present in every pregnancy? I worked in perinatal intensive care in the Belfast Maternity Hospital, a job with little sleep, but one full of magic moments. These wee ones were born many well below the 28 weeks gestation which this bill will withdraw protection from. They undoubtedly felt pain, they fought us and hated us for annoying them with blood tests and ventilator tubes and machines. Yet to dismember them and take them piecemeal from their mother’s womb, without even pain relief, is now a choice in law, and approved by our local council. This is barbarism.
As a GP, I’ve helped hundreds of women through pregnancies, most celebrating the new life within, but some of in despair as to how they might cope. Even in the most desperate of cases, I’ve never had a woman come back and say I wish I’d aborted that child. And I’ve had some, not all, but many who’ve induced abortion and have suffered and regretted that decision for all of their lives. One young woman, mother of a toddler, tells me that every time she looks at her son, she remembers that he is her second child.
To decriminalise abortion leaves the unborn child, the place where we all began, without any
protection whatsoever. If these people have their way, every home, where children should be safe, can now become a back-street abortion facility, where lives are ended without medical supervision and help. Our hospitals, places of care and healing, will become places where the innocent and defenceless will be sucked thorough tubes, or taken piecemeal from the safety of our mother’s wombs. Those who don’t expire as expected will be left to die alone, and thrown out with the soiled bandages. No dignified burial, no memories, just denial of their human dignity because they were somebody’s “choice” rather than human infants, albeit small and undeveloped ones. Nott planned, privileged or perfect.
A few years ago, in Derry, some women, closely allied to PBP were offering illegal, prescription-only medication and credit facilities to vulnerable women, without license, insurance or medical cover, in the name of women’s “rights”. The media gave them extensive coverage. Last week outside the guildhall in Derry others, with whom PBP members freely associated, were distributing leaflets telling women who had problems with abortion pills and were seeking medical care to lie to their doctors.
These are the people who should be criminalised.
We know that if abortion is decriminalised in the north it will be largely Sinn Féin’s doing. As they did with the euphemistically named “welfare reform”, they get those bad Brits to do their dirty work, and then cry foul. Even when they had what passes for political power here, they delivered nothing of real worth for Derry-the medical school, (not the promised 9,000 new student places, but a start) an education system worthy of the name, infrastructure, jobs, justice for abuse survivors, and redress for decades of systemic neglect. Instead they give us culture wars that have little or no relevance to real people. We canvassed 7000 households in Ballyarnett, and none of SF’s red lines were mentioned on the doors. I speak Irish, and had useful conversations with some local wanes.
If the assembly is not reconvened by 21st October all protections for unborn babies up to 28 weeks gestation will be removed. O brave new Ireland.
I’ve spoken before about the role of men in story of human reproduction. I don’t blame them for choosing not to get involved in the abortion debate, such is the vitriol and abuse to which they will be exposed. Conversely, for the traffickers, the violent thugs and abusers, decriminalisation is a dream come true. It will do away with nasty doctors and social workers asking inconvenient questions.
Wee recap of some Key Stage 3 biology.
The mother’s womb, or uterus is a hollow muscular organ with an opening to the outside, which has no other physiological or practical function except as a place where human babies grow and develop till they are mature enough to survive on their own. Those who chant “get your rosaries off my ovaries” should know that the ovaries produce eggs only, which simply die if they are not fertilised. It’s called a period, and happens monthly to most healthy women.
However, if fertilised, the egg and sperm each contribute 50% of the genetic material which makes a new and individual human person. The baby is genetically distinct, a new and unique person who never existed before and who never will again.
The narrative which writes males out of the human story is pernicious nonsense. Fathers matter, and are 50% of who we are. I’m the spit and image of my father, and he was my guide and inspiration. I think about him every day.
The alarming rate of suicide and self-harming behaviour in young males may be related to this exclusion of them as co-creators of their children, and their relegation to essentially being sperm donors.
I am a Pro-life feminist of the left. We in Aontú, the republican party I represent are pro-life for all of life. There has to date been little class-based analysis of the complex issue of the right to life of children versus the advancement of women. What a sterile and narrow vision of progress is it, when women’s rights and welfare are pitted against the lives of her children. When women are forced to relinquish their maternity and deny their biology to progress their careers and sometimes to even survive in today’s world.
It is a fact that abortion disproportionately affects the poor, ethnic minorities, and those who have additional needs. Many women have their choice and bodily autonomy limited by government policies and systemic injustice which seem less important to political parties than their own promotion. Their exclusive preoccupation with the culture wars at the expense of making meaningful change for the majority is a cause of bewilderment to many.
Organisations such as Amnesty, which were once were progressive voices for the oppressed are now the paid puppets of the most right-wing and anti-people forces on the planet. Money movers, venture capitalists, currency speculators, who have impoverished tens of thousands across the planet now impose their world view, because money talks.
Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International are for-profit global businesses making
billions here and in the developing world. Globally, they have little interest in the things which hav been repeatedly proven to make a real difference to women’s health, things such as such as education, maternal nutrition, clean birthing rooms, antibiotic provision, the treatment of sepsis, or blood transfusion facilities and so on. They don’t divert their obscene profits to build roads and infrastructure which would mean women in obstructed labour don’t have to be transported in a wheelbarrow over dirt tracks to access care.
They offer abortion and contraception as liberty, and self-righteously carry the white man’s burden into this new millennium. Thankfully however, women in the developing world are now speaking out to reject this new imperialism.
Of course, worldwide, the most lethal of the fatal foetal abnormalities is to be female. There are 400m of us at a conservative estimate missing across the globe. Having Two X chromosomes merits a death sentence, and this is legal, totally, if abortion is decriminalised.
The parties who promulgate this culture of death should hang their heads in shame.
Have we no better vision to offer women, or society?
However, the tide is turning, as people across the planet wake up and realise that the future can be better. This is the human rights issue of our generation. All lives matter, not just the planned, he privileged and the perfect.
|Clr. Anne Mc Closkey. MB. Aontú, Derry and Strabane District Council.|