The Irish government has just published its draft bill on “Protection of maternal life”.
This is basically PoliticSpeak for “this is when it’s okay to abort a child”.
Irrespective of anyone’s personal views on the abortion debate, it would be far preferable if the government were transparent about what they’re trying to accomplish.
The closest we have come to an admission was Labour TDs Aodhán Ó Riordáin and Anne Ferris’s secretly taped statement that the proposed legislation was, in the words of Michael Collins, “the freedom to achieve freedom” or the first step in introducing abortion on demand.
And it’s likely that this will be the endgame regardless of the opinions of the majority of Irish people, the expert recommendations and the constitution.
Once again it is clear that our government is legislating for the extreme cases, for the one in a million, for the interest groups and for the minorities.
The tragic phenomenon of suicidal ideation is precisely that, a rare and hypothetical possibility and yet it has dominated the debate and shaped the direction of the legislation.
As an audience member on last night’s Prime Time stated, we are weighing the possibility of suicide against the certainty of death.
I don’t believe creating more bureaucracy, more systems or more red tape is the solution to what is a highly subjective and ethical dilemma. The idea that a suicidal woman seeking an abortion would have to undergo multiple consultations, referrals and appeals is likely to be cumbersome, laborious and ultimately unworkable.
It’s time we had open and honest conversations on the issue instead of hyperbolic, Doomsday scenarios or worse disingenuous appeasement.