Tag Archives: Action on X

Making invisible the victims of child abuse

Cardinal Sean Brady In June 2012, Cardinal Brady – who in 1975 had let a child abuser loose to prey on further victimspublicly if not very personally apologised:

Cardinal Sean Brady has said it is “a matter of deep shame” that the Catholic Church did not always respond properly to victims of child abuse.

The Catholic primate of all Ireland was delivering a homily at the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.

He said he wanted to ask for the forgiveness of abuse victims.

He said the church had “first betrayed their trust and then failed to respond adequately to their pain”.

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Filed under Children, Human Rights, Religion, Women

Is this a right-wing conspiracy?

Ireland has an abortion rate normal for its population in Europe – it’s just that all legal abortions that Irish women have are outsourced, mostly to the UK. Irish women who have illegal abortions buy abortifacients online, which is more dangerous than a legal abortion but, once accomplished, the woman can (and hopefully, does) go to a hospital to be treated for the aftereffects of a miscarriage. (This is probably the safest method of illegal abortion, if carried out early and if the woman does seek medical help (and get it) promptly afterwards. And of course it’s much cheaper than a trip to England.)


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When is an abortion not an abortion?

Twenty years ago the Irish government, in the person of Attorney General Harry Whelehan, sought to take custody of a child made pregnant by rape, because she needed to have an abortion and the Irish government thought it entitled to prevent that: their intention was to force the child to have the rapist’s baby.

This became the “X” case, and on appeal, the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that the Irish government did not have the right to force a woman through pregnancy/childbirth at the risk of her life – and that risk to her life included her suicide. (Note: edited substantially. I’d misremembered the chronology quite seriously. My apologies.)

Nothing has been done in the twenty years since: the Irish government claims there are no lawful abortions in Ireland, prolifers claim this proves abortion is never medically necessary, and women silently vote with their feet.

The ECHR has ruled:

  • first, anyone may leave their prolife country to have an abortion if they wish and the prolife government is not allowed to prevent them; and,
  • second, that the Irish government must take steps to be sure that a pregnant girl or woman whose life is in danger can have an abortion in Ireland.

The first part the Irish government couldn’t stop, but the second – this the Irish government still refuse to do. Action on X is a campaigning group trying to bring about a change in the law in Ireland. Cardinal Sean Brady, who cares so much for children, is against it.

(There is an agreement that Northern Ireland, while part of the UK, will not pass legislation that would put it significantly out of step with the Republic of Ireland. As I understand it, it’s this agreement that makes it improbable that Northern Ireland will make abortion legal so that women living in NI can have abortions where they live, on the NHS, as they would if they lived in any other part of the UK. Put simply, if abortion was legal in Northern Ireland, women in the Republic of Ireland who needed an abortion would head north to the Six Counties, much cheaper and much less inconvenient for them than going over to London or Liverpool – but also very openly, Northern Ireland would be doing for the women of all Ireland what the Irish Republic will not do for their own citizens – though many think they should.)

how not to be a ‘legitimate’ rape victim:

When I was in eighth grade, a classmate – let’s call her Anna — said that she’d been raped. She told me during lunch at our desks, tipping her chair until it seemed she might fall over. It happened on a rocky lakeshore. The man came off a boat that was anchored nearby and she could hear voices yelling to him in the darkness. She was freezing. When it was over, he threw her jeans in the water and said, “I hope you get pregnant.”

Abortion has been legal in Ireland only on the most tightly-defined grounds, but where it is legal, it is obtainable. Only when an Irish hospital can be absolutely certain that the woman will not survive unless the abortion is performed and the fetus will never be viable.
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