The Journal has a feature on yesterday’s small protest outside the iconic GPO building in Dublin, the seat of the revolutionary Provisional Government in Easter 1916, by the organisation, Cherish All The Children Equally. The grouping purports to be “progressive, republican and of the left” while also being anti-choice, joining the rancorous campaign against the abolition of the Eight Amendment of Bunreacht na hÉireann, which prohibits the provision of abortion services in Ireland. One of those attending the demonstration offered the following opinions on Sinn Féin’s foot-dragging move towards its current pro-choice policy and the possible introduction of the medical procedure to the country:
“They are going to murder our future generations after fighting for generations to protect the Irish people. Now they’re in a situation where they’re going to murder our future generations and have no compulsion about it.
“Just because someone is doing something illegal, you don’t just legalise it and make it easier for them. To murder a baby, in my estimation is wrong, and you can’t legalise it,” he adds.
Which begs the obvious question. Did the 170,216 Irish women and girls who travelled overseas in search of terminations between January 1980 and December 2016 commit murder? Should those 170,216 citizens of the Republic, from underage girls to middle-aged women, be classified as murderers in the eyes of the general public? Should we enact legislation to criminalise such individuals, to prosecute those who seek or have had abortions outside the jurisdiction, and those families and friends who abet their actions, just as we charge those persons resident in Ireland who procure acts of female genital mutilation outside the technical borders of the State?
Or is it the case that the people who style themselves as radically or militantly “pro-life”, who call abortion “murder” and women who have abortions “murderers”, know full well that neither of those accusations stand up to any scrutiny? Or can be regarded as even remotely sustainable?
Notably, the website for Cherish All The Children Equally gives a prominent place to a quote from the notorious anti-abortion activist, Alveda King, the close associate of Gay Mitchell, Fine Gael’s failed presidential hopeful in 2011. King gained her fame among the ultra-conservative Evangelical movement in the United States through her equation of equal marriage with “genocide” and the belief that god “hates homosexuality”.
Which are sentiments that are hardly progressive, republican or of the left.