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Always searching for the middle ground… November 22, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

…not much time to discuss this, but there’s something about thediscourse emerging on a ‘middle ground’ on abortion legislation which is fairly irritating. It’s not just the sense that this is an artifact of the need, as it is perceived, to generate political cover to introduce any future measures (though when is an interesting question). It’s also the feeling that said middle ground – at least for the most part – didn’t have the nerve to stand up back in April when Collins, Daly and Wallace attempted to introduce legislation. Indeed they were notable by their absence. So for them suddenly to manifest is… surprising. And then the sense that this middle ground is curiously vague about just what constitutes the ‘middle ground’. Is it legislation for X, or X plus, or less than X?


1. sonofstan - November 22, 2012

I’ve had two emails from TDs each beginning with an assurance that ‘I am not in favour of abortion on demand’ – as if this represents the agreed starting point on the issue. I’ve written back to both pointing out that I am in favour of abortion on demand because I think the only person competent to decide in the case of an unwanted pregnancy is the woman herself, and asked them to explain to me why this isn’t the case. It’s clear though that any ‘debate’ we have will take this as it’s premiss – tough cases only, to be decided by doctors, and with an appeals procedure (would it be worth sending a memo to TDs explaining how long a pregnancy lasts?)

You’re right – the middle ground is simply the muddle ground, and until the 8th amendment is repealed, abortion as it is understood everywhere else, will remain illegal in this country. Legislating for exceptions merely reinforces the rule.

A further worrying narrative is emerging with regard to the Halappanavar case: I didn’t see Prime Time last night, but I heard a preview of it on the News at One, and heard Sean O’Rourke interview Gerard O’Donnell and Peter Boylan. I got the distinct impression that the ‘consensus’ emerging is that of course we are terribly sorry about what happened and our heartfelt sympathies &c …….but would the man just accept that, instead being all inconvenient and insisting on justice for what happened to his wife? A typically Irish response: if we wring our hands enough, we won’t actually have to do anything that would force us to change or move on.


Tawdy - November 22, 2012

Very well put, very insightful indeed.

I agree that it is a decision for any woman to make.


EWI - November 22, 2012

I’m shocked that it took the interest of the Indian government in this case to establish that no, having the hospital and GSE investigate themselves wasn’t acceptable.


2. EWI - November 22, 2012

You see the same phenomenon in politics (the neo-liberals, usually calling themselves “third way” or “the middle ground”) and climate change (the “luke-warmers”).

They’re essentially conservatives in liberal clothing. As you notice, they’re nowhere to be found when fruit-loop rightwingers are having their way.


CL - November 22, 2012

-There’s Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos-


3. Richard - November 22, 2012

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