Trying to articulate a pro-choice position without feeling like a monstrous eugenicist is difficult. It should be an unthinkable option, like Maria Oswalt here has said. If everyone was a good Catholic, it would not be a problem. I don’t often encounter good Catholics. That’s not to say I haven’t met a Catholic I didn’t like.
From Ireland, people are going overseas for abortions. Giving equal status to those who can’t afford that option is not ideal but it’s better than what we have now. I don’t want a pro-choice culture but we don’t have a pro-life one today. You won’t find one anywhere in the world. Anyone who gets knocked up is in danger of being called a thick bitch by someone, whether in Indonesia or Iceland. That’s not pro-life.
The horse has bolted. And it’s a horse the Irish never took very good care of. We don’t want to be involved in the choice-making of someone we’ve never met who finds herself feeling trapped by crisis pregnancy. But shouldn’t she have choice?
And it’s more than a cluster of cells, the foetus or embryo. But – without suggesting it’s a soul in any religious sense – what is it? It’s potential, but one can glibly respond to that by asking: Who are you? Plato? Are we living in an ideal world?
Politicians lie. Pat Rabbitte was right when he cynically said that a party’s pre-election campaign was primarily about getting into government. He was not discussing this in relation to abortion. But once in power, what was promised is irrelevant and realpolitik takes over.
One reason for a man to vote against choice is if the majority of women feel the same way, and they don’t.
So why do some women feel that abortion access is better than the alternatives available in Ireland today? Who can improve on those alternatives? And can we do better in a way that is copper-fastened, that is not reliant on economic factors and budgets, and that provides the right kinds of care? We must aim for a world where choice might become unthinkable for the right reasons, and aim for it with compassion. Alternatives – whatever they may be – should be available today, now. Former UCD SU president Katie Ascough makes a similar argument from the pro-life viewpoint.