Belfast Telegraph

Malachi O'Doherty: DUP best advised to go away and rethink the numbers game

By Malachi O'Doherty

My main point in another Nolan show clash with Jim Wells was to suggest that Jim did not really believe what he was saying.

By his view of abortion in Britain, over nine million innocent human beings have been put to death.

His party repeats a figure of 100,000 for the number of lives saved in Northern Ireland through our more stringent abortion laws.

Jim also uses a figure of 6,000 Nolan show listeners.

And, to reinforce the point, he and Sammy Wilson have both referred to the quality of citizenship of those survivors, workers in factories, good people.

But if his party believes that Britain is slaughtering millions of innocents and that Northern Ireland is now the only safe refuge for the unborn, it is not meeting its responsibilities commensurate with that carnage.

If a European country is slaughtering innocent humans on such a scale, surely there is no other concern before us that is as urgent.

We should, with our allies, be preparing an invasion force to save those lives. We should be badgering the United Nations.

So I told him I didn’t think he even believed what he was saying; that the implications of his understanding are that this slaughter is comparable to the Nazi Holocaust.

And he agreed. “Comparable in numbers,” he kept saying, meaning as profligate with human lives as the Nazis were in their death camps.

But if Britain is such a horrible country, that lays waste to humanity, with the approval of every government that has held office in the last 50 years, why does the DUP want to be in a union with it?

The only reasonable conclusion is that the DUP is treating abortion a lot less seriously than it claims to.

Or that the party’s case against abortion is being made so ineptly, so hysterically and so shallowly that its spokespersons would be best advised to go away and rethink their whole position.

Jim also asserts that the political parties in Northern Ireland do not want abortion here.

He bases this on the February 2016 vote against legislating for termination of pregnancies in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

But that vote was carried on a promise of the DUP to initiate a consultation and come back to the Assembly.

And the consultation has recommended reform.

And since that vote, nearly every major political party on the island of Ireland that held a pro-life position has changed its thinking.

Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the SDLP are all adjusting to a wave of concern, across the whole country, that women are being shabbily treated at the point of their greatest need.

Which is not to say that there isn’t a discussion to be had.

There is.

Abortion is not a morally neutral act in the minds of most people here.

But the question is whether it should be, or can continue to be, a criminal one.

And if that mood for change is here, then any return to Stormont will last only until the day the DUP uses a position of concern again to block the democratic will.

Belfast Telegraph

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