So Ireland has voted down its restrictive abortion laws. Now, it seems unlikely that the Emerald Isle will become as lenient regarding “pregnancy termination” as England already is. Yet perhaps someday, we’ll realize they just took longer to get to the same place.
In most of the United Kingdom, including England, abortion regulations require two doctors to sign off before the procedure. But the law grants doctors a conscience clause. They may refuse to sign on moral grounds. And the law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks–with later exceptions for health of the mother or when the unborn child may have “serious disabilities.”
So getting an abortion in the UK is more difficult than it is in the US–which requires no doctors’ signatures and has no gestational time limit. In America, a woman can get an abortion for no reason until “viability”–24 weeks–and for any reason after that.
By comparison, France allows abortion for any reason for only 12 weeks–and later only in extreme cases.
The vote last week affected the law in Ireland–but not the laws of its neighbor–Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but has the right to self-government. Northern Ireland’s demographics are much different from the rest of the UK.
“In the 2011 Census, some 82.3% of [Northern Ireland’s] residents described themselves as Christian compared with 59.4% in England, 53.8% in Scotland and 57.6% in Wales. Despite the peace process, the fact that Northern Ireland remains a ‘divided society’ along sectarian lines has deepened the influence of the churches . . . all the main denominations of which oppose abortion. ‘Although church attendance is dropping, it’s still the highest in the UK.'”
Northern Ireland is still a very divided nation–divided over religious tradition. But abortion may become a unifying factor if there is a push to change the law there too–especially in light of the recent UK cases of Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard–children who were British citizens allowed to die from lack of care from England’s National Health Service (NHS).
Because there isn’t a very big leap from killing children at one age and killing older people at another.
For example, there is the case of Simon Fitzmaurice–an Irish victim of ALS who breathes today but against the will of the NHS. Fitzmaurice’s medical attendants did not know the rules when they placed him on life support.
Once they realized their mistake, he refused their urging to have himself removed from his breathing apparatus. A non-government agency provides such tools at no cost to patients or British taxpayers. Yet they urged him to let himself die.
He is one they missed. But there will continue to be others.
Unless we see Awakening.
From Irish Catholic journalist John Rodgers: “Unless we begin to awaken, this is the future: a place where the state alone will decide how long the human person will live, and in what circumstances his or her life will be deemed worth living. The courts and the medical profession will assume the place of God, fulfilling C.S. Lewis’s prophecy that, when God is abolished, He is never replaced by all men, but by a few men. This is where tyranny begins.”
So Ireland sleeps.
Here’s hoping another country divided on doctrine–but united on the sanctity of life can awaken the rest of the world.
Freedom from tyranny stands in the balance.
The Cross of Crosses (pictured above) represents 45 years of conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland–one cross–for each year someone died in the conflict–cut out of the larger cross. “The one cross represents the fact that one has died for all, namely Jesus Christ himself, that he died for both communities (Catholic and Protestant),” says Pastor Jack McKee.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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