And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one… pig-headed Government, apparently deaf and blind to all reasonable argument – but unfortunately not dumb – could carry on with this treacherous and lethal folly. William Binchy, one of the finest legal minds in Ireland and former Regius Professor of Laws at Trinity College Dublin, in an op-ed in this morning’s edition of the Irish Times lays bare the folly of the Irish Government’s drive for abortion legislation.
He calls for “plain speaking”, something that is in very short supply in the Irish media generally and from the mouths of most of Ireland’s public representatives in particular where forked tongues are heavily oversupplied.
As Professor Binchy outlines it for us, the Government is proposing, for the first time since Ireland became independent from Britain nearly 100 years ago, that a law be passed prescribing the death of innocent human beings.
The forked tongues insist on calling these human being foetuses, an “it” rather than a “thou” or “I”. When “your” and “I”, dear reader, were conceived we were not an “it”. We were “I” and “”thou”, the same as today and forever. Our levels of consciousness did not make us an “it”. Making us an “it”, then or now would, not have made our destruction – had we been treated in the way the Irish Government is now proposing to treat thousands of our fellow human beings – any less heinous.
In what it is proposing, Professor Binchy points out, the Irish Government is flying in the face of the evidence of psychiatrists presented to it last January, as well as the overwhelming evidence of international research. He continues:
It falsely claims that it is bound to take this step by the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, whereas in fact the judgment merely requires clarity in our law. The Bill provides no extra clarity as to medical treatment. Instead, it sets up a procedure for decision-making and decision-makers, with no guidance beyond current medical practice as to the content of any decision to be made.
The Taoiseach claims that the Bill doesn’t change the position but he is here engaging in a tricky use of language. The Bill changes the position in practice in a profound way. It requires hospitals that respect the equality and dignity of everyone to introduce facilities for the termination by obstetricians of the lives of babies of physically healthy mothers where suicidal ideation is established in accordance with the criteria for abortion set out in the Supreme Court decision of over 20 years ago.
The Bill defines “unborn as it relates to human life” as meaning “following implantation until such time as it has completely proceeded in a living state from the body of the woman”.
He concludes with his call for plain speaking and gives us some of his own.
Everybody knows that the Bill is the product of political expediency (and, for the Labour Party, an important and necessary step on a sure road to wide-ranging abortion).
Those who are lawyers know that it is not legally required. Those who are doctors know that it is not medically necessary. And those who are psychiatrists know that it is actually damaging to the welfare of some of their patients.
Let us strive over the coming weeks to encourage our legislators to step back from the brink and instead ensure that there is clear legal support and extra clarity for current medical practice that recognises the humanity of mothers and their unborn children.
This proposed legislation is threatening to divide Ireland into two opposing camps harbouring animosity and bitterness towards each other on a scale not seen since the bitter civil war which divided the country after independence and persisted through many decades. No Irish Taoiseach has been regarded with the animosity and loathing with which Taoiseach Enda Kenny is now regarded by a very sizable percentage of the Irish electorate since the two decades following that civil war. His party came to power after the last general election on the basis of support from Ireland’s pro-life majority and on the understanding that he would protect the life of the unborn. He is now reviled for breaking that promise and that revulsion will be the dominant taste of his legacy in Irish history – regardless of all the commendable work the public servants of his government are now doing to pull Ireland out of the economic mess for which all its politicians of the last decade bear responsibility.