I don’t yet fully know how I feel about a rape victim being forced to continue with a pregnancy until a caesarean birth was imposed. That this victim of rape, pregnancy and birth was abused by legislation I supported, makes sorting out my feelings that bit more difficult.
During the fraught passage of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, I opined that no one with suicidal thoughts should go near this legislation. What I failed to understand, was that poor women, girls in the care of the State and those mired in the asylum-seeking system, would have no choice but subject themselves to the vicious clauses of this law. A law I supported.
Now that this glaring inadequacy has been revealed in its nasty imposition, I am left hoping that this government, this government which I support, will do something. I am left hoping that a class of men and women, defined by cowardice and an aversion to controversy, will ameliorate the fully realised implications of this law.
It is not that this law denies choice, it is that this law only denies choice to the poorest and most vulnerable. A law I supported. Does this mean that I’m urging our politicians to finally grasp the nettle of the Eight Amendment?
No. I may as well urge a leopard to change its spots. The government I support will not risk the ire of those who now applaud forced pregnancies. I can understand why. It will only lose votes in this. Principles are of no use in opposition or worse, when one is without a seat.
But there is a way to demonstrate some kind of recognisable morality, while maintaining the sick practice of out-sourcing Irish abortions to the UK, but that also keeps the forced births brigade almost quiescent. All this government must do, this government I support, is pass legislation which recognises and ensures all women, whatever their circumstances, financial, legal, nationality, mental state or age, have an equal right to access reproductive services in the UK.
There will be dramatic consequences to this I know. Children accompanied by carers, women in handcuffs, women being means-tested, all accessing abortion paid for by Irish taxpayers. It’ll mean expediting all requests by asylum-seekers to prevent the risk of forced births. It might even go as far as requiring the State to purchase a clinic in the UK, for the sole purpose of providing abortions for women being supported by this State.
I would prefer living in a reality where our politicians thought to ask the people their opinion on the Eighth Amendment. I would support asking that question. I just don’t see it happening before more women are forced to continue with unwanted pregnancies for no other reason than a lack of funds or the freedom travel routinely between EU States.
In the absence of principle and backbone, I would be more than happy to support our politicians throwing money at this problem. It is a temporary solution (though politicians may think otherwise), but it is at least more realistic, for now.