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Green Fields of Ireland Stained Blood Red

The amount of metaphorical ink spilled over the Ireland abortion referendum will likely be less than the amount of actual abortion blood. I don’t know a lot of detail about the history of Irish abortion laws or this particular referendum; I just wanted to share a brief news post I ran across the day of the vote. I found it disturbing, but was not sure why.

 

Polls Open in Irish Referendum on Abortion

About 3.2 million people are eligible to vote in today’s referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, a portion of the Irish Constitution introduced in 1983 that guarantees expectant mothers and unborn children equal rights to life. Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Ireland, with no exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities, rape or incest, and thousands of Irish women every year travel to the U.K. to terminate pregnancies. Polls suggest the law is likely to be overturned, which would pave the way for legalized abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

 

So what’s disturbing about it? After some contemplation, I found the article was too nonchalant; it does not convey the simple reality of the situation and the gravity of the sin. It’s about legalizing murder; the killing of innocent human life. Additionally, (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), I’m pretty sure that intentionally using the power of your vote for the sole purpose of  legalizing abortion would be a mortal sin, provided the voter understands what they are doing. I also found the article inclined as pro-choice, even if only subtly and subconsciously. How so?

  • “Abortion is almost entirely illegal in Ireland” – I sense some outrage. How could a modern nation in this day and age have such a law? The author could have said, “The unborn are almost entirely protected in Ireland”.
  • “…pave the way for legalized abortion…” – This has a positive tone. Metaphorically, paving a new road represents progress unless used in sarcasm. The author could have said, “… a slippery slope to legalized abortion”.
  • “…thousands of Irish women every year travel to the U.K. to terminate pregnancies.” – The poor dears need to travel a long way to kill their babies…so unfair.

Consider the above article with just a few simple changes. Imagine if the following article was published in the 1930’s about Germans voting on Genocide.

 

Polls Open in German Referendum on Genocide

About 32 million people are eligible to vote in today’s referendum on repealing an amendment, a portion of the German Constitution introduced in 1883 that guarantees that Germans and Jews in Germany have equal rights to life. Genocide is almost entirely illegal in Germany, with no exceptions for deformed Jews or Jews brought to Germany illegally, and thousands of Germans every year travel to other countries to terminate Jews. Polls suggest the law is likely to be overturned, which would pave the way for legalized Genocide during the first stages of a Jew’s life.

 

We should all be horrified by such a news post regardless of our politics, right? I’ll await the outrage from Catholic leaders around the world and the Vatican, but I won’t hold my breath.

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Ben Butera

Ben Butera is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently a Solutions Development Manager for a global 500 company. In 2010 he was certified as an instructor and Program Leader for his company’s initiative in analytical problem solving and decision making. In 2016 his first book was published entitled "Faith with Good Reason: Finding Truth Through an Analytical Lens". Ben is also co-author of “Two Catholic Men and a Blog”; a blog about Catholic faith and reason. He is a religious education catechist, a husband, a father and lives with his loving wife and three children in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

25 Comments

  1. There won’t be a peep from the Pope. Unfortunately.
    These “yes” voters and their like, such as the person who wrote the article, do not consider a child of twelve weeks and under to be a person. They call it a “clump of cells”. And they don’t believe this “clump of cells” has any rights over the rights of its mother. The mothers rights trump the rights of the “clump” of cells. And this is regardless of the fact that by 12 weeks a baby is fully formed- eyelids, fingernail beds, facial features- all it needs to do is grow and mature to full term. Basic science has failed these “yes” voters because they are bleeping along like the sheep they have become, with a leader who is as rotten and useless as they come.

  2. “I’m pretty sure that intentionally using the power of your vote for the sole purpose of legalizing abortion would be a mortal sin, provided the voter understands what they are doing.”

    I would agree with you Ben.
    An accomplice in that prior protection was in place, but because of their vote they are accomplices to the murder. A crime notwithstanding in the law of the land. A crime in the eyes of the Holy Catholic Church and of God.
    In my humble opinion a Mortal sin indeed.

  3. (btw, your step back to the thirties and scripting a similar letter as applicable to the current situation in Ireland was brilliant. )

  4. Micha, thankfully I don’t think Phillippines will follow. The Faith is alive there. They are more concerned with protecting themselves against fundamentalist Islam and dealing with issues of poverty. And their society relies heavily on the traditional family structure. Unlike much of the West, children are welcomed.

  5. “They call it a ‘clump of cells’”
    I doubt it very much. In his Rethinking Life and Death (1996), Princeton bioethicist, Peter Singer submitted that “[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life” and goes on to justify both abortion and infanticide.

    In 2012 a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, expressed similar views.

    The French Veil Law ((Law No. 75-17 of January 1975, concerning the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy) declares in its first article, “The law guarantees respect for every human being from the outset of life. There shall be no derogation from this principle except in cases of necessity and under the conditions laid down by this Law,”

    No one actually doubts that the embryo is “human, and alive”; they just do not believe that this tells us it is wrong to take that being’s life” Most follow Hume in insisting one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is.”

  6. “The law guarantees respect for every human being from the outset of life. There shall be no derogation from this principle except in cases of necessity and under the conditions laid down by this Law,”

    The second sentence of course completely negates the “respect” given by the first sentence.

  7. Donald R McClarey wrote, “The second sentence of course completely negates the “respect” given by the first sentence.”

    Of course. It was an attempt to introduce abortion on demand up to 10 weeks, without appearing to tamper with the Code of 1804 (Code Napoléon), which enjoys almost superstitious reverence. Art 16 of the Code declares, “Legislation ensures the primacy of the person [la personne], prohibits any infringement of the latter’s dignity and guarantees respect for the human being [l’être humain] from the outset of life.” According to most jurists, “person” and “human being” are here synonymous.

    What poor Portalis, one of the leading architects of the Code and a Catholic, who had suffeed for his Faith during the Revolution would have made of it, one shudders to think. It was he who wrote to the Emperor, “Laws are not pure acts of will; they are acts of wisdom, of justice, and of reason. The legislator does not so much exercise power as fulfill a sacred trust.”

  8. “No one actually doubts that the embryo is ‘human, and alive’; they just do not believe that this tells us it is wrong to take that being’s life”. I think it legally boils down to the question of person vs. non-person. From here we should ask what objective evidence can you show us that reasonably proves you are a person and a baby in the womb is not. Is it physical location? size? stage of growth? need of life support? Where does the data lead?…Nowhere.

  9. Where does the data leave? Don’t ask the former head of PP;
    . In 2014 she claimed the question of when life begins was not “really relevant” to discussing abortion, and last month she told Playboy there was “no specific moment when life begins.”

    I guess Ms. Richards couldn’t tell us when life ends. She will have eternity in a very uncomfortable setting to figure that out.

  10. “They call it a “clump of cells”.” There is no life without a sovereign, rational, immortal, human soul. These newly begotten souls are the adopted children of God as all people are. An individual denies his own humanity when he denies the humanity of any other person, living or dead.

  11. To save the life of the mother is the cry of all abortionists. Death must be imminent, right now, not two months from now to be a real life saving.

  12. “I think it legally boils down to the question of person vs. non-person.” Roe v. Wade never bore the burden of proof that the newly begotten sovereign person was not a person, thereby making Roe v. Wade one of the greatest miscarriages of Justice ever.

  13. “In his Rethinking Life and Death (1996), Princeton bioethicist, Peter Singer submitted that “[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life” and goes on to justify both abortion and infanticide.” it appears to be abortion. It is really the imposition of atheism. Once atheism is accepted there is nothing to prevent the American archipelago gulag

  14. Sadly, a lot of people do think the embryo is neither alive nor human– or more precisely, they have that impression. They don’t think about it– and that’s the way the activists like it.
    Stuff gets shifted to appeal to ridicule, show a picture of an embryo looking as much like nothing as possible, then demand “you think this is a person?!?” or similar.

    There’s a dang REASON the activists scream about “science” being on their side, but don’t actually use it, just have scientists carefully chosen for willingness to agree we “need” to “utilize” this “resource”– IE, “hey, we can learn a lot from human experimentation!” (They really are not pleased when you point out that the issue with such a thing has never been that there’s no benefit from it, it’s the cost….)

  15. “Thousands of women are forced to go to England for abortions..” Why England? Because the Protestant country of Northern Ireland has a ban on abortion.

  16. Mary De Voe wrote, “Death must be imminent, right now, not two months from now to be a real life saving.”
    That has never been the law.
    On 19 July 1938, in R. v. Bourne (3 All E. R. 615 (1938) Macnaghten, J. explained the law as follows: –
    “Take a reasonable view of the words “for the preservation of the life of the mother.” I do not think that it is contended that those words mean merely for the preservation of the life of the mother from instant death. There are cases, we were told–and indeed I expect you know cases from your own experience–where it is reasonably certain that a woman will not be able to deliver the child with which she is pregnant. In such a case, where the doctor expects, basing his opinion upon the experience and knowledge of the profession, that the child cannot be delivered without the death of the mother, in those circumstances the doctor is entitled–and, indeed, it is his duty–to perform this operation with a view to saving the life of the mother, and in such a case it is obvious that the sooner the operation is performed the better. The law is not that the doctor has got to wait until the unfortunate woman is in peril of immediate death and then at the last moment snatch her from the jaws of death. He is not only entitled, but it is his duty, to perform the operation with a view to saving her life… As I have said, I think that those words ought to be construed in a reasonable sense, and, if the doctor is of opinion, on reasonable grounds and with adequate knowledge, that the probable consequence of the continuance of the pregnancy will be to make the woman a physical or mental wreck, the jury are quite entitled to take the view that the doctor, who, in those circumstances, and in that honest belief, operates, is operating for the purpose of preserving the life of the woman.”

  17. “According to most jurists, “person” and “human being” are here synonymous”
    Sovereign personhood, free will and intellect are endowed by God at the beginning of a human being’s existence, at the beginning of his life. Life is an attribute of the rational immortal soul.
    “The legislator does not so much exercise power as fulfill a sacred trust.”
    Our Supreme Court Justices and all Justices are the personification of the perfect Justice of almighty God. Justice is the title of the office of sacred trust. Thank you for this again.
    How many people do you know who desire corrupt Justice? Without almighty God’s perfect Justice, there is all anyone can want.
    Continuing that thought of imminent death: Modern medicine can ameliorate some pregnancy problems. Caesarian section can deliver a child prematurely and incubate him to save his life. The child does not have to be destroyed because the mother’s life must be saved.

  18. The Irish clergy did in 50 years what the English could not do in 400: Destroy the Catholic Church in Ireland.

    The collapse of the Church in Ireland is directly related to the series of Church scandals. All the Church’s wounds were self-inflicted. The Church’s credibility is so low that abortion opponents asked them not to speak on the measure because it would do more harm than good.

  19. The scandals were bad but I think this result would have occurred even without them. The movement to the secular left in Ireland long pre-dated the scandals. The Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, with certain honorable exceptions, have largely gone along with this.

  20. It’s so sad that, apparently, the collapse of the Catholic faith in Ireland and the near-collapse of the faith among the Irish-Catholic community in Boston, Massachusetts have happened almost in tandem. Much of these wounds have, indeed, been self-inflicted. I believe these collapses have been unfolding slowly – over years – like a slow-motion train wreck, and the fallout has not completely settled yet. More to come, folks. Be ready.

  21. Donald R McClarey wrote, “The scandals were bad but I think this result would have occurred even without them.”

    Alas, in Ireland, the clerical profession has long been a moyen de parvenir for those of limited talents and few other opportunities for advancement. Too many are pedestrian in point of learning, utterly lacking in the social graces and their fabled “Irish eloquence” deserts them in the pulpit.

    Too little changed after Newman, the mildest of men, complained that too many of the Irish clergy “carry themselves with a degree of pride and arrogance that is as little warranted by their attainments as it is inconsistent with their situation in life.”

    This, even without gross vices, would have been more than sufficient to bring them into popular contempt

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