I’ve read the literature and I’m absolutely convinced that it won’t make a whit of difference to the abortion situation in Ireland whether you vote yes or no.
The reason you should vote no is because the Government is going to make a dog’s dinner of the constitution.
Let’s take the abortion thing first.
If you vote yes, you will outlaw suicide as a grounds for abortion. And that’s about it.
Suicide has provided a legal grounds for abortion in Ireland since 1992 but nobody has availed of it. No pro-choice group has set up clinics to offer such a service and presumably any woman who wanted the service went to England.
If you vote no, suicide will be grounds for abortion. But even so, the legislation is likely to be very stringent so that the England alternative will probably be the only one available.
And that’s about it.
There has been a lot of waffle about the danger to women’s health in the event of a yes vote. But as there will be practically no change in the abortion law, I can’t see the danger.
Let’s be honest about this. The referendum is a waste of time. This year 7,000 women will have abortions in England. Next year will be much the same – regardless of whether there’s a yes or a no vote.
Some pro-life campaigners are in a tizzy over the difference in time between conception and implantation in the womb. They claim that the latter legitimises embryo research and post-conception contraception (if that’s not an oxymoron). Yet the current situation is that IVF and the morning-after pill are legal now. So where’s the change?
What I don’t like about this proposal is that it messes about with the constitution.
The constitution is supposed to be the basic law of the country. The Government wants to attach a clause in the constitution to a specific act of law. If this proceeds, then the constitution will become unreadable.
The amendment will effectively put an Act of the Oireachtas into the constitution. This act cannot be changed without a further referendum. It can’t be changed by the Oireachtas.
This is a mess. There’s no way the general populace is going to read and digest the contents of an act of parliament. That’s what the Dail is for.
The written constitution should be a simple set of principles that can be readily understood. That is its genius. An act should be a detailed law drafted by sad people who know the ins and outs of the courts and the whims of judges.
Mixing up the two is eventually going to rob the populace of their right to lay down the fundamental laws under which this republic is governed.
Given that nothing else is at stake, and that the Supreme Court has refused to protect the constitution, you should vote no.
|As well as that…|
The Crisis Pregnancy Agency is the real story
As I say, the abortion referendum is a waste of time. But it is not the only thing to have emerged from five years of deliberations down at Leinster House.
All sides have agreed on the need to avoid abortions. All sides agree that the incidence of abortion should be minimised. But up to now, the Irish State has done precious little about it.
Now we have the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA) led by the redoubtable Olive Braiden. Forget about all the referendums. This is the most important thing to have emerged from the abortion debate. Ever.
The CPA is tasked with coming up with practical solutions to the problem of crisis pregnancies. Why do we have such a rate of unwanted pregnancies? Why do we have such a high abortion rate? How do we care for women who have had abortions?
The potential of the CPA is enormous.
Women do actually tell lies
One of the things that gets my goat about the pro-choice campaign is the shock-horror attitude they adopt over the suggestion that women might lie about suicide in order to get an abortion.
What are they trying to say? That women don’t lie? What a load of pious crap!
Every human that has ever walked the planet has lied at some stage.
Part of the problem of denying women legal abortion is that women will resort to desperate measures to end their pregnancies including back street abortions and assorted quack remedies. Anything, apparently, but telling lies.
Of course, it’s nonsense. But it’s a sly way of ‘sectarianising’ the debate. Anyone who says women might lie has to be anti-women,right?
There’s just no end to the dishonesty of the pro-choice campaign. They will resort to anything to get their way.