Unborn child has never been in greater danger on the island of Ireland than at the present time
Micheal Martin talks a lot about compassion for the mother, but where is the compassion for the baby, asks Alban Maginness
When can you be pro-life and pro-abortion at the same time? The answer is when you are Micheal Martin TD, the current leader of Fianna Fail. He has a way with words which mimics Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. There, Humpty Dumpty nonsensically remarked: "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less."
Thus, with Micheal Martin, when interviewed on our local BBC flagship programme The View, he audaciously claimed that he was still pro-life, despite the fact he was advocating the introduction of abortion in the Republic. Not only was he advocating abortion, but abortion on a non-restrictive basis, amounting in practice to abortion on demand and, in certain cases, without any gestational term limits right up to birth.
Seasoned interviewer Mark Carruthers appeared to be incredulous about Micheal Martin's absurd position, asking him how he could square that particular circle. Micheal Martin, with the practiced coolness of an experienced politician, insulting the intelligence of the electorate by believing that the public will swallow anything, smugly reiterated his contradictory assertion.
For the record, the abortion proposals proposed by the Dail committee looking at this issue recommended unconditional abortion, to any mother, on request, up to 12 weeks. In addition, thereafter, the committee recommended that abortion be available to mothers whose health, mental or physical, was at risk.
Furthermore, a baby, who the committee described as suffering from a fatal foetal abnormality, could be aborted up to birth.
In short, abortion on demand, much worse than the current position in Britain, because there are fewer obstacles. The proposed legislation would make the Republic one of the most permissive abortion regimes in Europe.
Micheal Martin talked a lot about compassion for women with crisis pregnancies and he is to be applauded for that concern.
But is that compassion to be expressed by aborting the baby?
Why not provide the money, the support, the medical and counselling facilities that mother rightly requires to cope with her pregnancy?
And where is the compassion for the baby in the womb? The baby in the womb cannot talk, nor lobby, nor demonstrate in the streets and cannot defend its vital interest in being born and having a chance to live in the prosperous, 21st-century Irish Republic.
Where is the defenceless baby's rights in all of this?
Has that baby not got a basic, fundamental right to life, to be born and breathe the free air as any other human being? If not, why not?
And what about the lack of rights of a father under this new draft legislation?
Under the proposals, the father will have no rights whatsoever.
If a mother wants an abortion within, say, the proposed 12 weeks, there is nothing he can do to prevent that happening.
So, if a couple have a planned pregnancy and the circumstances suddenly change, one parent can override the father's wish to have that baby.
Surely this is fundamentally bad law?
The Fianna Fail leader has done a great disservice to the defence of the unborn baby through his unilateral commitment to supporting abortion.
Abortion diminishes all in human society, by destroying the most vulnerable and devaluing the right to life of everyone. Once you go down this road, human life loses its absolute value.
The eighth amendment in the Irish constitution is an innovative, progressive, life-affirming piece of constitutional protection that citizens should be proud of in Ireland. It is progressive, to protect both lives, and it is perverse to say that abortion is progressive.
Abortion is a serious regression, as far as human life is concerned, and it is regressive to remove that constitutional protection.
Politicians talking in doublespeak on this issue are wrong and misleading. Confused and confusing arguments do nothing to enhance a proper debate.
Micheal Martin has given credibility to the pro-abortion argument, a credibility that others could not. The people of Ireland outside the media bubble must feel betrayed by his stance.
And isn't it peculiar that the political establishment in the south have ignored 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland on this fundamentally important constitutional issue, that may be basic law for decades to come?
They have not thought it necessary to consult the views of thousands of potential future citizens in the north. So much for their commitment to creating a future "agreed Ireland".
The very night that Micheal Martin was on The View, Lord David Alton, a courageous pro-life advocate, spoke to a packed cross-community meeting in St Bridget's Parish Hall in Belfast. He ended his inspirational speech with this warning: "It has never been a more dangerous time for the unborn child on the island of Ireland."
Sadly, it is hard to disagree.