HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » An Irish Problem: Sally R...

Wed May 16, 2018, 05:58 PM

An Irish Problem: Sally Rooney writes about the abortion referendum

In 1983, a referendum was held in Ireland to establish a constitutional right to life for embryos and foetuses. Abortion was not legal in Ireland at the time; it never has been. The referendum was the result of a campaign by conservative religious groups aimed at preventing any future legislation permitting abortion in any but the most extreme, life-threatening circumstances. The Eighth Amendment passed, gaining 67 per cent of the vote. On 25 May, another referendum will be held on whether to repeal that amendment. This one won’t pass so easily – if it passes at all.

So far the campaign has been distinguished by acrimony, falsehoods and a media obsession with ‘balance’ – an insistence that both sides must be given equal respect and consideration. Though campaign funding is strictly regulated by Irish law, there are questions about how effectively these regulations are being enforced, and in particular about the ‘No’ campaign’s links to anti-abortion organisations in the US. A group calling itself the Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, made up largely of American volunteers, has attracted media attention by protesting outside maternity hospitals in Dublin with banners showing dismembered foetuses. The group is connected to a US organisation called the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, whose leader, Gregg Cunningham, visited Ireland in January.

Across the country, ‘Save the Eighth’ posters depict gigantic, robust babies, as if the referendum concerned the health of six-month-old infants. But the subtext is clear: no matter what’s going on in a woman’s life, it’s always a good time to have a baby. One poster produced by the ‘No’ campaign shows an ultrasound image of a foetus below the caption: ‘I am nine weeks old. I can yawn & kick. Don’t repeal me.’ The Together for Yes campaign, which crowdfunded its largely text-based posters, has opted for slogans like: ‘Sometimes a private matter needs public support’.

By providing the foetus and the pregnant woman with an equal right to life, the Eighth Amendment prohibits abortion in all circumstances unless the life of the woman is at substantial risk. The threat of serious, permanent injury or illness is insufficient grounds for a termination. In 1992, a 14-year-old child who had been raped by a neighbour became suicidal as a consequence of the resulting pregnancy. After the attorney general issued an injunction to prevent her from travelling abroad for an abortion, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, holding that suicidal feelings constitute a risk to life. Much of Ireland’s abortion debate since then – including a referendum in 1992 and another in 2002 – has hinged on whether the possibility of suicide does in fact constitute a sufficiently immediate risk. In 1992, 35 per cent of the population believed it did not.
...
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n10/sally-rooney/an-irish-problem

2 replies, 908 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Irish Problem: Sally Rooney writes about the abortion referendum (Original post)
muriel_volestrangler May 16 OP
CaliforniaPeggy May 16 #1
area51 May 18 #2

Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 06:51 PM

1. A pox on those who oppose this referendum.

They might as well be living in the 10th century.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Original post)

Fri May 18, 2018, 02:48 AM

2. To the Greatest Page with you. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread