As had been recommended, I availed of the holiday period to reflect on the proposals of the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment.
In doing so I was cognisant of the fact that the members were influenced by an overwhelming number of contributions from experts with a manifest pro-abortion agenda.
If the recommendation that the Eighth Amendment be repealed is carried, it would facilitate the situation legalising the killing of an unborn infant in the mother’s womb.
From time immemorial, the dignity of the human being was protected by the edict of the Fifth Commandment: “Thou shall not kill.” Periodically, circumstances and convention permitted a derogation, for example, in a just war, in the execution of a criminal, and in self-defence.
It now appears that the Irish people will be asked to approve a further category, namely, in certain circumstances to legitimise the killing of an unborn infant.
Some apparently convincing and eloquently presented proposals have been made to justify this standpoint, which would warrant a rational and impartial examination to establish their authenticity.
It is claimed that the mother, whose entitlement to equality remains untouched, should have bodily autonomy and choose her own destiny. It should also be remembered that she has the privilege of being the custodian of her unborn child.
Some misguided people seek to devalue the existence of the infant in the womb as a foetus or a clump of cells. The reality is that the infant in the womb is a human being in the initial phase of the successive stages of human development.
An adult is also a clump of cells which has developed to maturity.
One of the proposals is that termination of pregnancy should be permitted without restriction with a gestation limit of 12 weeks.
The period of 12 weeks was selected at random, without any scientific evidence to substantiate it.
The intention, of course, is, that if enacted, it would quickly follow that the time would be extended to encompass the full term.
Fatal foetal abnormality is a contrived phrase, which does not exist in the medical lexicon because it is definitively unreliable.
There are numerous documented instances where mothers, who having been advised that their unborn child was suffering from a fatal foetal abnormality proceeded to full term with the pregnancy, and, contrary to medical prognosis, gave birth to a perfectly normal child.
Rape and incest are heinous crimes, and a resultant unwanted pregnancy, can be a traumatic experience, but does it warrant the sacrificing of an innocent and defenceless human being?
The victim in this case should be given every assistance possible to complete the pregnancy , by counselling, financial aid, and compassionate support.
The unwanted offspring could then be offered to foster, to carefully designated childless couples, who currently have to adopt children from distant lands with diverse cultures.
In rare cases, suicidal tendencies is put forward as a basis for an abortion.
This situation is not so unique as to warrant selective consideration. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some women who have had an abortion also suffer subsequently from feelings of guilt and depression, sometimes culminating in suicidal tendencies.
Reference is frequently expressed at the necessity of 3,000-plus women annually having to travel to Britain to undergo an abortion.
One would ask the question if all these cases are as a consequence of the aforementioned issues.
If such is the case, and if the adage “prevention is better than cure” holds, then the health and justice departments have a huge task in eliminating the causes of the malaise.
On reflection, since when has Britain become the paragon of virtue for the Irish to imitate?
In conclusion, the Eighth Amendment has served the country well, and apart from a few modifications to rectify any ambiguity in the current wording, it should continue.
These would include the removal of the criminality element (which actually is not being currently implemented), and clarifying the position where it is lawful to terminate a pregnancy if the life of the mother is at stake.