Discussing Abortion January 8, 2013Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
The bones of thirty years ago I sat in a Secondary School classroom, there was a general din as we waited for the teacher to come into the classroom. The teacher came in and the din continued, then out of nowhere from the back of the class came the roar ….. “Abortion!”
We were stunned to silence. The culprit was quickly identified , dragged to the top of the class, to the corridor and I’m sure you’ve a good idea of what happened next.
Throughout my adult life Abortion has been a topic rarely discussed. Yes its’ been talked about but rarely discussed. The Referendums, The X-Case were talked about but it was one topic you’d want to know who you were talking to before raising it. Indeed thinking back, much of the talk of the X-Case was about the right to travel and information rather than the girl actually having an abortion in this State. Of course much talk revolved not so much on the horrific nature of it but speculation about the perpetrator.
Since the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar I’ve notice a change in attitudes and a willingness to bring the subject up. Oddly enough I found myself explaining the X-Case and Irish abortion laws before Christmas to some (non Irish) co workers who had been shocked by seeing the Youth Defence Foetus in a Santa hat posters.
A Portuguese colleague told us about the Abortion Referendums held in Portugal in 1998 and 2007, the Salazar regime and its attitude to the church.
The family emigrants returned this Christmas, its strange but whilst there’s the weekly skype session with the grandparents where we all take a few minutes and say hello and make small talk , its not until they are home that you really can have a proper chat. The anger they had over the Savita tragedy was immense. It was the same with a few other people I met who were home for the Christmas.
On a wider scale I’ve found myself in discussions about Abortion at home, in pubs and other occasions. I may be wrong but there is a definite change in attitude compared to even 20 years ago. I find that my own attitudes have changed too. It still is in some quarters a polarizing issue but one seen not as black and white as it used to be.
Think back to the various church statements recently, once upon a time these would have had a large impact, not so now, indeed they could even be counterproductive.
I’d hazard that ‘legislating for X’, as seems to be the preferred option of the government, will not go far enough for most people. Either way its a huge defeat for the pro life movement, a movement used to bullying its way to influence.