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Abortion May 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’m a little surprised at the result of the Irish Times poll at the weekend on abortion. Perhaps the result of the Citizens’ Assembly was deceptive – perhaps every citizen should go through that or a similar process of engagement with the issue. But whatever about that…

The public are most strongly in favour of abortion – 82 per cent agreement – in situations where there is a serious risk to the health of the woman. Those interviewed were also firmly in favour of making abortion legal in Ireland where a pregnancy has been the result of rape (76 per cent agreement) and when there is a serious risk to the mental health of the woman (72 per cent agreement). The majority view (67 per cent agreement) was that abortion should also be legal if the unborn child has a foetal abnormality that is likely to cause death before or shortly after birth.


Where the public drew the line was in allowing abortion on request (67 per cent against) or if sufficient financial or family supports are not in place (68 per cent against).

I find that 67 per cent on fatal foetal abnormality somewhat low. Though perhaps on reflection it is actually quite high given all else.

And yet on broader reflection it seems to me these results parallel the impression I get from talking to people more widely. That there’s considerable willingness to liberalise on a range of issues but not on the issue of availability without restriction.

Politically this is going to present an interesting question for this and the next government…does this provide cover for Repeal of the 8th and replacement with limited provision or pushing towards a more expansive regime or running for cover and delaying any engagement with it whatsoever?


1. ivorthorne - May 29, 2017

Some people really got carried away after the Citizen’s Assembly. Labour did not. Some of their TDs felt that the question that should be put to the people in a referendum should be a modest one and I think these pollls support Labour’s position if the goal is liberalisation of our abortion laws.

The response on fatal foetal abnormalities is lower than one would expect but probably reflects people’s views that (i) it may mean ending the life in circumstances of misdiagnosis and (ii) people interpret “shortly” differently.

Language is everything when it comes to these kind of polls. Had they left out the word “serious” on the mental health question, the figure would be entirely different.

Truth be told, depending on how the relevant legislation is phrased and interpreted, it is quite possible that there would be de facto abortion availability in Ireland for adults. If everybody knows that a threat to the mental or physical health is the criteria, requests will be presented on that basis.

In the middle of a referendum, those are the kind of arguments the pro-life side will make. Those who decide the referendum will be those , who think abortion should be available in cases of threats to health but should not be available on request or for economic reasons. Whatever the proposition is, they will swing to the Yes or No side based on what they judge to be the side that best approximates their position.


2. damonmatthewwise - May 29, 2017

In view of campaigns to eradicate neurodiversity – people with Autistic and Downs Syndrome etc whose skills and ability and strength of character being ignored by groups and organisation looking to abort, sterilise or gene therapy the unique mix – from the UN Discussion of an autistic with DS pleading at UN Convention in Geneva against the spread of countries with 0 children born since they test and kill all foetus with DS/ASD … only harming the diversity and ability and creativity that we provide society. Like https://www.facebook.com/brightvibes/videos/708724282647547/

For the Planet and social justice,

Damon Matthew Wise Âû National Secretary/CEO NCPD group On 29 May 2017 at 11:10, The Cedar Lounge Revolution wrote:

> WorldbyStorm posted: “I’m a little surprised at the result of the Irish > Times poll at the weekend on abortion. Perhaps the result of the Citizens’ > Assembly was deceptive – perhaps every citizen should go through that or a > similar process of engagement with the issue. But whate” >

Liked by 1 person

ivorthorne - May 29, 2017

Thanks Damon. The timing of technological versus social developments is important.

If people had discovered a prenatal test for say – the probability of homosexuality in the 1930s – the gay population today would be tiny and frankly looking at countries like Russia today, it would still be a threat in some places. Our societies would not be as rich as they are today.

On the other hand, if we see abortion as a right in and of itself, then can we really object to someone using that right freely? If they do not want a gay kid or an autistic kid or a deaf kid or a ginger kid, is that not their right?

Having said that, Irish people do not seem to see abortion as a right in itself but seem open to it being a means to realise other rights.

Liked by 1 person

3. Joe - May 29, 2017

“If they do not want a gay kid or an autistic kid or a deaf kid or a ginger kid”

Four thousand plus Irish women go to the UK every year for an abortion. I’d hazard that for pretty much all of those women, the sort of reasons set out above do not apply. They have abortions because they make the decision that they do not want to have a baby – for all kinds of social and economic and family and personal and other reasons.
They should have the right to have those abortions here if they so wish.


sonofstan - May 29, 2017

At the time of the X-case, my mother, after a few G&Ts, asked a group of women she worked with in an organasation generally represented as quite conservative how they would react if their teenage daughter became pregnant; most of them agreed that they would advise and facilitate the boatride to England. She was interviewed on the radio soon afterwards about something else and made the mistake of recounting this……

I suspect if we were like our near antipode, New Zealand, and 800 miles from our bigger, overbearing neighbour, we’d have sorted this by now.


4. Geraldus Galwensis - May 29, 2017

The 67% who reportedly disagree with abortion on request probably also disagree with the assertion that abortion is a woman’s right to choose. It seems to me that the Repeal the 8th campaigners are going to continue meeting a stone wall if they campaign for abortion as a right. Is abortion a human right? There is a question for the voting citizens of Ireland.


ivorthorne - May 29, 2017

It would be foolish to campaign mostly on that basis. Labour, generally, believe in that right to choose. Liberalisation on particular types of issues is a safer bet but who knows, during a campaign perhaps a pro-choice that tried to make the wider argument could convince those who currently do not believe in greater abortion availability as a means that it is a right in and of itself.


5. Pasionario - May 29, 2017

The problem with abortion is that it shouldn’t really be considered a matter for a plebiscite at all because individual women’s reproductive choices are really none of our collective business. I also don’t want to see regular popular votes on the death penalty. Human rights are incontrovertible whether or not the majority agrees with them. Left-wing enthusiasts for government by permanent “Bolivarian” referendums should be careful what they wish for.

In other countries, abortion was often discreetly legalized with deliberately flimsy caveats so as to circumvent public opposition. The key thing in Ireland is to get the clause out of the Constitution so that the issue can become a legislative matter. At some point, someone would then succeed in pushing through a bill upholding the woman’s right to choose.

What the Repeal the 8th Campaign has to avoid at all costs is a referendum where the existing clause is replaced by another slightly less restrictive piece of constitutional gobbledy gook. As an interim measure, legislation authorizing abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, and threats to the mother’s health would be an acceptable half-way house. In another decade or so, that would be replaced in turn by a rational law.

All this requires tactical nous and a certain amount of rhetorical subterfuge, but that’s politics.


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