Faith

Is Ireland's Strict Anti-Abortion Stance 'Cruel and Discriminatory' to Women?

(AP Images)

Having approved gay marriage last year, The Republic of Ireland and its Catholic traditions are once again under assault from an entirely predictable quarter: the United Nations:

Ireland’s abortion ban subjects women to discriminatory, cruel and degrading treatment and should be ended immediately for cases involving fatal fetal abnormalities, U.N. human rights experts said Thursday.

The 29-page report from the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Committee accepted a complaint filed by Amanda Mellet, a Dublin woman who was denied a 2011 abortion in Ireland after doctors informed her that her fetus had a heart defect and could not survive outside the womb.

Ireland permits abortions only in cases where the woman’s own life is endangered by continued pregnancy. Its ban on abortion in all other circumstances requires women to carry a physiologically doomed fetus until birth or its death in the womb. The only other option is to travel abroad for abortions, usually to England, where thousands of Irish citizens have abortions annually.

A few observations:

  1. Abortion is not solely a woman’s decision, but that of her male partner as well. If a father can be sued for child support for a child he didn’t either want or plan, then he should be involved in any discussion of abortion as well. If aything, making this a female-only “choice” is discriminatory.
  2. This is a highly controversial issue in Ireland, which has largely put aside its Catholic faith in favor of a culturally flavored secular progressivism, especially in the capital city, Dublin. The Church still plays a large role in the formulation of national policy, however, although to nowhere near the extent it once did. (Click the link above at the words “gay marriage” for a fuller explanation of why this is. Hint: it has something to do with mostly homosexual, boy-molesting priests having gone unpunished for decades).
  3. Abortion is, in almost every circumstance, a grave sin. To murder a child in the womb for a woman’s convenience is wholly evil.
  4. European countries ought not to be encouraged to kill off their own native populations. Ireland still has a robust baby boom in progress and one that ought to be encouraged, not discouraged. In my remote and rural part of Erin, there are little kids aplenty and it’s great to see them at Mass every Sunday.
  5. Population growth in the Republic, which still has a net population loss due to emigration, is a very good thing, as well as a major bargaining chip with Britain for the return of the Ulster counties and the re-unification of the island.

To put this in context, this means the combined Irish population is today almost the size it was before the Famine in the 1840s.  As the Irish Independent noted last year:

Ireland is in the midst of a full-blown population boom boasting the EU’s top birth rate and second-lowest death rate. There was 14.4 babies born per 1,000 residents in the State last year, easily eclipsing the EU average of 10.1. In stark contrast, Ireland also recorded one of Europe’s lowest death rates at 6.4pc per 1,000 residents – some distance behind the EU average of 9.7pc.

The new figures, released by the EU’s statistical office Eurostat, now puts Ireland’s population at 4.6 million. [Irish Republic only; another 1.8 million people live in the British-administered six counties of Northern Ireland.] Given the nation’s birth and death rates, it means Ireland saw a natural change in population of +8.1pc in 2014.

Back to murderous UN:

The U.N. Human Rights Committee, constituting experts from 17 nations led by Fabian Salvioli of Argentina, found that Ireland’s abortion law violates the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and called for widespread reform.

The panel wields no power to compel change from Ireland, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation that maintains the strictest laws on abortion in the 28-nation EU. Ireland’s government and Catholic Church leaders declined to comment on the report, which seeks a formal Irish government response within six months.

That response, delivered in our native tongue, ought to be (pardon my Gaelige): Póg mo thóinFocáil leat, or Téigh trasna ort féin. Elevating one sob story to a matter of national moral and legal policy is never a very good idea, as Roe v. Wade here in the U.S. continues to prove. Ireland shouldn’t follow America’s lead.