Monday, May 28, 2018

Ireland votes to give women a choice...

Bill and I spent the Memorial Day weekend in France again.  This time, we went back to Alsace, which is beginning to feel like a second home.  It was our fourth visit to Ribeauville since January 2017.  We love going there because it takes less than three hours to get there, yet has a distinctly different vibe.  Plus, the guy whose apartments we rent is awesome.

Anyway... our time in France did not stop me from watching the news.  On Friday of last week, Irish voters determined that it's time to end Ireland's ban on abortion.  They decided to repeal the 8th amendment to their Constitution, which pretty much made getting an abortion in Ireland impossible except in extremely rare cases.

I can never help sharing my strong pro choice beliefs.  I do have some friends who are pro life and sometimes they take me up on a debate.  I don't mind that, as long as they are respectful about it.  But I don't think anyone will ever change my mind about a woman's right to choose.  I will always choose the rights of the born over the rights of the unborn.  I can't support forcing women to be pregnant under any circumstances, even if I do think that it's reasonable to limit access to late term abortions.  

Someone shared this with me.  I think it nicely defines why this issue is so important.  It did spark a debate with one person who is against abortion, but most of my friends were horrified by it.

Ireland's Minister of Health summed things up nicely and said: "In the past we have told women with unwanted pregnancies to 'take the boat or take the plane' (to England). Now we tell them 'take my hand'."  That's the way it really should be, in my opinion.

Naturally, some people disagree.  One person with a strong opinion on the matter is Ben Seewald, husband of the former Jessa Duggar, who tweeted this:

Um... Ben, this is not going to affect you personally...  but...

An Irish woman in the Life is Not All Pickles and Hairspray group posted this, which I thought was brilliant.

If you want to be sad about something Ben, be sad about Sheila Hodges, and all the women like her who died because their cancer treatment was stopped because they were pregnant.

Be sad about Savita Halappanavar, and all the women who died as a result of not being allowed a medically managed miscarriage.

Be sad about Ms. Y, a rape victim who attempted suicide after being denied an abortion so they locked her in a psychiatric hospital, force fed her until she was 25 weeks pregnant and then forced her to have a c-section against her will.

Be said about Ms P, a woman who died when she was 15 weeks pregnant but was kept alive on life support for 3 weeks. Nurses had to apply make up to her to hide her collapsed eye sockets when her children came to visit because they refused to allow her to die with dignity because they wanted to use her body as some twisted version of an incubator.

Be sad about the thousands women forced through the doors of the Mother and Baby homes and Magdalene laundries. Cruel, deathly, evil places that only closed their doors in 1996.

Be sad about the 800 babies stuffed down sluice toilets at Tuam. Be sad about the 350 babies who died at Kilrush. Be sad about the babies who died at Bessborogh with its infant mortality rate of 68%.

Be sad about the thousands of women who found out their babies had no chance of survival and had to go abroad to access an abortion. Who had to leave their baby's body in a foreign hospital and wait for a delivery driver to return their baby's body to them in a cardboard box like an amazon delivery.

So many women have been negatively affected by Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws.  I don't cheer for abortions.  I simply think that women should be entrusted to decide when they are ready to give birth.  It's simply no one else's business, especially when the other person opining is not in any way affected by the aftermath of the birth.  Too many people resort to slut shaming, too, which is neither productive nor warranted.

I only wish more people in my own country had as much compassion as the Irish do for their citizens.  Watching the news from the United States right now is like being flung into a dystopian nightmare.  I am excited for Ireland and I'm glad I'll be visiting there again in July.  I'll definitely be raising a glass.


  1. My mom, whose mother and paternal grandparents were from Ireland is, despite being Catholic, thrilled with the result of the voting. It's not as though the previous law actually kept anyone from having abortions, as we know. It's just safer now, where the poor who lack the funds to travel can have procedures in safer settings. Ireland has a history of treating pregnant and unwed women abysmally. It's high time they belatedly joined the twentieth century.

    1. Exactly.

      I got into it with a pro-lifer last week. Actually, it was a pretty civilized exchange. She doesn't agree with allowing abortions except in some cases. Personally, I think if you're going to assign personhood to the unborn, you can't make exceptions for things like rape and incest. For that reason, I don't assign personhood to those who haven't yet been born, because I do think there are times when abortions are necessary.

    2. It makes perfect sense. I have no issue with a mother who is carrying a child to term considering it a life, so to speak, but in a political and legal sense it should be as you described it. Even in cases of others resorting to acts that caused a fetus to be terminated, the person can be prosecuted for mayhem and receive a fairly stiff sentence. If the lightness of the sentence is a problem, legislators should increase the penalties for mayhem. Anyone who intentionally engages in an act of violence than causes another to lose an organ or any part of a body much more significant than a booger deserves a lengthy prison sentence. We don't have to declare fetuses to be humans for such to happen.

    3. Yes. I will never be okay with forcing rape or incest victims to give birth, particularly when the victim is child herself. I will never be okay with forcing a woman whose life is in danger to give birth. I will never be okay with forcing a mother whose baby has extreme birth defects to give birth. In each of those cases, the fetus was just as innocent as a fetus conceived purposely or by accident. Since I wouldn't be alright with forcing childbirth in some cases, I can't be alright with it in any case. If abortion is wrong, it's wrong. But sometimes, I think it's the right choice. So I will always be pro-choice.

      That being said, I don't think it's unreasonable to have limits on late term abortions. We pretty much already have those, though, since it's very difficult and expensive to get a late term abortion.

    4. Regarding limits on late-term abortions, I agree. Unless it's a clueless thirteen-year-old, a critical maternal health issue, or a late discovery of a serious fetal defect, if a fetus is viable, it's too late in my estimation for it to be aborted. My uncle and I were cyber-chatting about this a few minutes ago. He just (as in twelve hours ago) performed an emergency lobectomy on a woman who was twenty-two [plus a few days] weeks pregnant and just diagnosed with aggressive non-small-cell lung cancer. The fetus was removed immediately afterward. The oncologist thought it was foolish to give the cancer even a few weeks to invade. Fortunately neither the mother nor her husband were half-wits who placed the value of an unborn fetus ahead of the life of the mother. She needed the tumor out immediately and to begin treatment as soon as she is sufficiently recovered from the surgery. Had the baby been taken by c-section at the time, even had it lived, which would have been most unlikely, it would have faced severe and multiple disabilities. The pro-lifers would have the mother believe she was doing a noble thing in holding off on treatment had she done so, but she has two existing children to consider in addition to herself.

      In terms of abortion as birth control under normal circumstances at just over twenty-two weeks, however, it's ridiculous.

    5. Yeah... and I don't think too many women are using late term abortions in that manner, anyway.

      Poor lady... I hope she recovers well.


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