Dec 16, 2010

Pro choice forever!

Between newspapers, economists, television, job, stress, depression, I haven't had a lot of time to blog. It's not for want of topics but there is a listlessness to writing about Ireland. The people are shackled to a four year plan negotiated by an illegitimate government known to be corrupt. I can barely afford heating since the last budget and everything seems hopeless. There needs to be a new way but vested interests maintain the status quo. But today there is an issue that I still feel passionate about - a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy. 

Women have been terminating pregnancies for centuries. There are a number of fascinating books on the subject and one truth emerges in all societies studies, both ancient and modern is that prohibition of abortion does not lower the number of actual abortions. Prohibition of abortion just drives people into debt, illness and death.

So why can't government inject a soupcon of pragmatism into the debate. Legalising abortion saves lives - real lives, the lives of humans already in existence. Exchanging one life for a potential life is a bad deal. Why gamble with life already in existance?

I'm pro choice. It's my body and my health. But pro choice is so much more than just pro abortion. It's sex education. It's birth control. It's the price of condoms. It's that forced pregnancy is a human rights violation. Ireland has some of most expensive condoms in Europe. In 96, I got my first sex ed class, wherein the lecturer declared that men would only marry virgins, and spent the rest of the time talking at yes about our first periods. At the age of 17 this was six years too late.

A Red C poll in January of this year found out that

Some 60% of young people want abortion legalised here, it has emerged.

According to a Red C poll in today's Irish Examiner, 10% of 18-34 year olds have been involved in a relationship where an abortion took place.

It pays to be pragmatic. Legalising abortion saves women's lives. The thing is that women will have abortions regardless of the law because each person knows what is best for their situation.

Adding spice to the conversion

Ireland claims to be pro-life but Ireland isn't pro life. Ireland is caught in a Catholic ethos despite the revelations of those pulpit preachers. It's the old story of keeping up appearances. Isn't that why so many girls and women ended up in Magdalene laundries where they worked without pay until they died. No boys or men were similarly imprisoned for the crime of having sex or getting raped or being considered too pretty.

Ireland doesn't care about children. That much is clear from the Ryan Report, the Murphy Report, and the revelations about "care" of children by the HSE. Hundreds of children were buried in unmarked graves after being beaten to death. Where is the outcry? Hundreds of thousands of children were sent to hell in the industrial schools. People knew and did nothing. Doctors, nurses, gardaí and families knew what happened and did nothing. Everyone is shocked now that denial is no longer an option. But the state continues to negotiate with the 18 orders. They negotiate with child abusers and rapists. Few criminal charges have been brought.

I've been raped twice. If I had fallen pregnant you can be damned sure that I would have made sure that I had the choice whether to continue the pregnancy. If I would have to, I would beg, borrow or steal the money to travel to France to get an abortion.

One in every four children will experience sexual abuse. One in every three women under the age of 40 will be raped. To force these women and children to continue a pregnancy through rape is to retraumatise her and re-enforces the commonly held view that women and girl's lives are of lesser importance than a fetus. Forced pregnancy is a human rights violation.

Today's ruling, at least, forces the government to legislate for the Supreme Court decision in the X case. So little by little we chip away at misogynistic old laws. Maybe, eventually, we can value women and our decisions.


Alice said...

I couldn't agree more, with every word you said. The issue regularly frustrates me to the point of speechlessness, you've said it all. x

Mór Rígan said...

Thanks Alice!

The Gombeen Man said...

Blogging in Ireland can be a bit like hitting your head against the wall, Mor. Here's one who knows.

Well said. Let's hope that this ruling will be the first step to introducing the right to choose - in their own country - for Irish women.

Keep up the good fight!