The arguments of either camp are deemed irrelevant when faced with the relative facts.
Ever since the tragedy of the Savita Halappanavar case last year intense debate has raged throughout the country as to the implications of the legislation of the X-case motion. Amid all the clamor however, how many people have actually considered that the debate, as sensitive as it may be, is nothing more than a moot point when put in context to the overall situation.
Ever since the wheels for the legislation were put in motion following the Savita tragedy of October last year, it seems that the whole world and his wife have an opinion on the matter, with some parties arguing intensely, and even aggressively over what action must be taken. Since that fateful day there have have been insults and insinuations, demonstrations and confrontations, political stand-offs and social discourse relating to the matter with the the latest in this chain of events being this morning’s hacking of the anti-abortion Youth Defence website, by an as-of-yet unknown party. And with the dust of the parliamentary vote on the proposed bill still settling do not expect an end to the mayhem just yet.
Nevertheless, whatever political compromises have been made on this bill, whatever fine tuning has been done so it will appear in its most inoffensive form, the legislation is merely a means of preventing the Savita incident of ever happening in this country again. It’s not a green light for abortion on demand, it’s not a defilement of the rights of the unborn, it’s a merely a code of conduct for doctors and medical institutions around the country for what should be done when confronted with a similar situation in the future.
As regards to the larger debate of whether it’s right to terminate a pregnancy in any case, as delicate an issue as this is, with regard to the overall picture it is simply not a relevant argument for the simple fact that, whether people like it or not, abortion is available to Irish women. The fact that Irish law outlines a clear protection of life stance that stipulates that the termination of a pregnancy will only be carried out in cases of a threat to the mother’s life, this is not the case on the shore of our nearest neighbors the UK where the practice is very much a legal one. Regardless of our policies on this side of the Irish Sea, it is a cold, hard fact that over 150,000 women have given Republic of Ireland addresses when registering at abortion clinics in Britain since 1980, a process that is only going to continue in the face of our own restrictive laws. And why wouldn’t it? Along with Malta, Ireland is the only European Union country that outrightly outlaws abortion, and that’s coming from list that includes traditionalist Catholic nations such as Spain, Austria, and Poland, as well as I might add, the country of the Pope’s residence, Italy. Whether people like to confront these facts or not, the truth is evident. Should an Irish woman find herself in the unfortunate situation of having to make the most difficult of choices, the option is always available to her, she just has to make the necessary travel arrangements.
Of course I understand that this is highly delicate issue, and have the utmost respect for people’s own opinions on the matter, but I think we’ll all agree that in the vast majority of cases these difficult decisions are certainly not taken lightly by those involved, and in many cases are an absolute necessity. That is why we must all think of them first before we continue such an incendiary discourse, and acknowledge that their choice and theirs alone, is the only one that matters.