Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland abortion laws are proving that the Troubles were nothing but a silly misunderstanding

By Mark Steel

Here’s a heart-warming story from Northern Ireland. It’s now so peaceful there that, in order to give the police something to do, the authorities have prosecuted a teenage woman for taking an abortion pill that would be legal anywhere else in the UK.

The Catholic and Protestant church in Northern Ireland agree almost any abortion must be illegal. It’s touching that, after all that’s gone on in the past, at last the two religions can come together as friends.

It shows the answer to the problems all along was to come up with laws suited to the times before Protestants broke from Rome in the first place.

To bind the communities together even further, they should bring in more rules from the 12th century, like the ducking stool, or setting fire to people with a birthmark as they must be the Devil, which is why the beetroots went mouldy. Before long they’ll be wondering why they ever fell out at all.

They even call the law that bans the abortion pill an act against “taking noxious poison”. It’s so important to preserve this rarely used language. It goes to show, if feminists got their way we’d lose quaint phrases such as "arrested for imbibing of a noxious poison, the witch", and our speech would be all the poorer.

At the same time, the Northern Ireland authorities are looking ahead, because it’s one of Donald Trump’s wishes for “women to be punished for having an abortion”, so you have to give the Northern Ireland Assembly credit for being in advance of Trump. They’re probably already building a wall along the bottom of County Antrim, to keep out lost Mexicans who try to creep in.

The Catholic group Precious Life explains its case with points such as “these drugs have unpleasant side-effects”. This may be true, and it could explain why the Catholic Church is also opposed to contraception – if a child got hold of one of those rubber things and pinged it thinking it was a toy, it could go in someone’s eye. All the priesthood wants is a bit of health and safety. Is that so wrong?

Even if a woman has become pregnant after a rape, it’s illegal for her to seek an abortion or take one of the pills in Northern Ireland. But as they can give you unpleasant side-effects, that’s not surprising. If a woman becomes pregnant after a rape, the last thing she needs is a period of drowsiness or being unable to lift heavy objects. After an ordeal like that, she’ll probably want to move a piano to take her mind off things.  

It’s possible the Church has other motives for wishing all abortion to be illegal, such as their belief we’re all born with original sin, that sex is dirty and desire is disgusting, that our souls are filthy and all sperm belongs to GOD, who we love to bits though we can’t think why he gave us these horrible,vile, wicked, lustful thoughts, but I expect that wouldn’t fit on the leaflet. 

Even so, you can understand why a government would wish to run its social laws in accordance with the teachings of the Irish church, as they have such an unblemished record when it comes to sexual matters.

For example, the 2,600-page Ryan Report into child abuse in Ireland concluded, “Rape and sexual molestation were endemic in the Irish church.” But the priests were working extremely hard to save everyone’s souls, so it was only natural they fancied a bit of relaxation in their free time.

Children born as a result of these incidents were often transported to Australia, to protect the church, which proves how much the priesthood cares for children, giving them free round-the-world trips like that. 

But now three women in Derry, who don’t seem to accept the dominance of the church, have turned themselves into the police, declaring they’ve been buying the abortion pills for women afraid to have them delivered to their own house, in case they’re arrested.

The three are daring the government to have them arrested instead, knowing that would spark a mass campaign.

Their hope is that Northern Ireland becomes as liberal as Sierra Leone, which recently legalised abortion. But while it may be fine for advanced nations like that to introduce fancy politically correct measures, when they have no problems apart from a spot of Ebola to worry about, you can’t expect the same in the country only recently discovered and referred to as the United Kingdom.

It would be unfair to give the Catholic Church all the credit for this situation. For example, Edwin Poots, who was Democratic Unionist Party health minister, was the character who insisted the display at the Giant’s Causeway should add a section stating the cause of the rock formations may have been that GOD created them like that 6,000 years ago.

To be fair, this shows an advantage of creationist thinking: it makes displays at geological landmarks much shorter and smaller, saving on costs rather than taking up huge paragraphs like the “science” people.

Unionists like Poots and his party have fought a century-long battle in their desperation to remain part of the UK – a place in which, in every other region, the “abortion pills” are available on the NHS, and don’t appear to be all that noxious.

It makes you realise the whole conflict in Northern Ireland has been a silly misunderstanding, a result of everyone getting their countries mixed up.

Soon the DUP will say: “Hang on, what’s the place that stops the poorest women having any say over whether they’re pregnant or not, on account of some made up nonsense? Ireland?

“Oh b*******, we got it the wrong way round. It’s Ireland we demand to be part of, quick, take down the Union Jacks and paint everything green. Ulster is Gaelic; we will never surrender. Never.”


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