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Fertility in the firing line… cartridges sent to clinics and Ministers March 11, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Depressing news today:

Threatening letters containing shotgun cartridges have been sent to two Government ministers and a number of fertility clinics around the country.

Minister for Health Mary Harney and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, both received letters claiming to be from a previously unknown group, the Irish Citizens Defence Force.

It didn’t stop there…

A letter containing a live shotgun cartridge was also received by a number of fertility clinics, including the Clane Clinic in Kildare on the same day.

Management at the clinic told RTÉ News that it contained threats to staff and was deeply upsetting.

The clinic says it has taken precautions as a result of the letter.

The SIMS Fertility Clinic in Dundrum said it also received a device and letter.

And perhaps the most pertinent comment was:

Dr Tony Walsh of the SIMS fertility clinic said the event had been very upsetting for staff and pregnant women in the clinic at the time.

He described the sending of threatening letters and devices to fertility clinics around the country as an act of social terrorism.

He’s not far wrong.

As someone asked me, is it because we have no abortion clinics in the country so to get their thrills they go after the fertility clinics? While I don’t believe this represents anything more in itself than a pathetic act by some individual (Irish Citizens Defence Force, yeah, sure, most likely we can knock the ‘s’ off the Citizen’s), it’s hard not to think that it fits into a discourse where extreme social conservatives are happy to take a lash at IVF and other areas because they are seen to be representative of social liberalism. Better still, because fertility issues seemingly undermine a purported ‘traditional’ nuclear family and that, therefore is bad. And no better example of this can be seen than the piece here and the enormously mean-spirited piece brought to you by those lovely people at the Iona institute to which it links (a group which it is probably worth taking a look at more closely).

Apart from making entirely inaccurate and unsupported statements, for example the underlying assumption that all IVF involves ‘donor’ eggs or sperm (they can do, and it’s something that on the sperm side has certainly been a facet of human experience for millennia, but the majority don’t) or that “Cases are already emerging of adopted children marrying only to discover they are siblings. With the rise of IVF, together with the more popular sperm donors fathering dozens of children, there is scope for such accidentally incestuous unions to increase exponentially”. Unfortunately in the case cited no proof was offered, no evidence brought forward and experts in the field argued that it was vanishingly impossible that any such case had happened (and incidentally, considering the worthies who align with the IONA institute, shouldn’t they be making a better case than that).

In other words ‘information’ culled from newspaper reports with no credible referencing which betrays a sort of fear of anything that moves away from some supposed norm. Furthermore it asserts without reference the idea that ‘alternative family forms’ necessarily lead to negative outcomes for children. Even were that entirely contestable notion correct how precisely in an enormously complex contemporary society are we to somehow role the clock back to this supposed golden age? But of course no such golden age existed. Whatever the complications and paradoxes of the present they are as nothing compared to the deceptions and hypocrisies of the past, particularly, but not exclusively in this country and on this island. So permit me a degree of cynicism when I hear the great and the good, and indeed the not so good in case of the ICDF, making their case. The thing about the present is it isn’t the past and there’s no going there again.

Although, as we see, some people think the threat of force and coercion is one route back.


1. Eagle - March 11, 2008

When I read this I half assumed it was someone with a very personal axe to grind. Maybe someone for whom this treatment failed or was ruled out? Maybe a disgruntled ex-employee of such a clinic? I simply can’t imagine there’s really any organized campaign at work here.


2. WorldbyStorm - March 11, 2008

That’s very possible. I’m in full agreement with you. I’m sure there’s no campaign.


3. Pope condemns IVF and all that stuff… just like that! « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - March 22, 2008

[…] a ‘yuch’ factor, that we see them pushed into the centre of the debate – just as we saw recently the use of hyperbole and exaggeration in a connected debate. I can’t help but feel that by […]


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