The Editors: For pro-lifers, the cause endures

On Saturday, thousands of Irish people braved the elements, and the implicit opposition of large sections of the media, to march in defence of unborn life.

In the four years since the Irish public voted, in 2018, to repeal the 8th amendment and approve the introduction of an on-demand abortion law, more than 21,000 lives have been prematurely and deliberately ended in this state. You will find no trace of those lives in the census, or in the records of the people who live, and die, in Ireland.

Human life itself, when unwanted, is now a disposable commodity of no significance.

There may be no more emblematic issue about the state of modern Ireland, and indeed the modern west, than abortion. In many ways, modern society is a cold house for children, and a cold house for those who aspire to have them. Last week, in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s laudable decision to reverse Roe v Wade, many major companies announced – and were praised for announcing – that they would pay for abortions for their female employees. That many of those same companies refuse, in accordance with US law, to pay for parental leave or childcare raised barely an eyebrow. The message could not be clearer: Children are burdensome, and, if possible, to be avoided.

The progressive mantra of “choice” when it comes to pregnancy has side effects that are often excised entirely from the conversation: After all, choices have consequences. The reduction of childbirth and parenting to a matter of simple choice has the happy side effect, at least in a capitalist society, of allowing us to wash our hands of the need to help. Thus, in this culture, the woman who has seven children is widely seen as irresponsible and dissolute. The woman who has seven abortions is seen as progressive, and empowered. It is a cold statement of fact that many people would rather their taxes pay for abortion than child supports.

No debate, of course, can be reduced only to generalities or to its most extreme cases. It is undoubtedly true that the vast majority of those who voted yes in 2018 did not vote to create, in their minds, a colder society. They were led to believe they were voting to provide care, as they saw it, to the woman who has been raped, or to the couple who have been told their baby is a ‘fatal abnormality’. But those who voted on that basis are still responsible for their votes.

Those votes have enabled much more than what was, perhaps, at the forefront of their minds. As this outlet reported two weeks ago, the number of Irish women seeking an abortion on the grounds of Down Syndrome, in the UK, has dramatically increased since 2018. Though we have not yet legalised abortion on those grounds here, the shifting sands of the culture are moving inexorably that way. We live in a country where it is increasingly felt unjust for a couple to be denied a perfect baby, and increasingly seen as legitimate to discard an imperfect one, so long as that discarding takes place prior to birth. The consequences that this will have, in time, for disability services and the respect we show to those who live in our society as former imperfect babies are not hard to foresee.

For the pro lifer, all life is worthy of respect, and protection. Children are a good thing: Even in the most difficult circumstances, a new human life is another chance for humanity. Another opportunity, another 80 years of possibilities, and love, and relationships, and opportunities to change the world for the better. Perhaps this is idealistic: Not every child will have a happy life. But every child deserves a chance at happiness.

There is, too, an opportunity cost to abortion. Those who say “it was the right choice for me” are making an assertion, not a statement of fact. None of us know how a child we did not meet, and never gave a chance, might have affected us. The world is full of those who wish they’d had children. It is not overburdened, thankfully, with people who regret that they did.

For all the language that we use to sanitise and simplify it, the cold fact is that abortion ends a human life. It robs all of society of the contributions that life might have made, and of the love it might have given, and of the relationships it might have formed. Abortion supporters counter that no woman has an abortion lightly. On that, we’d hope, there should be agreement. But it does tend to undermine the notion that abortion is no more significant than having one’s appendix out.

To those thousands who marched on Saturday, this is a cause that endures. Whether one believes that abortion should be legal, or illegal, there should at least be recognition from all sides that abortion is at its core a tragedy. A tragedy not only for the mother who turns away from one future, but for the child who loses their future entirely, and the society that loses something it didn’t even know it had.

Opposing abortion is not popular in Ireland, in 2022. But that which is popular is not the same as that which is right. And nothing ever became popular without the efforts of those who made the case, in the wind, and the rain, when it was not popular. As the United States showed us last week, change can, and does, come, in time. Until then, the hope still lives and the dream, as they say, shall never die.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are open

The biggest problem Ireland faces right now is:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...