Abortion Foisted upon Northern Ireland

When I visited the town of Derry (Londonderry to UK proponents) in Northern Ireland in 2019, I took note of Queen Victoria’s statue in the town’s guildhall.

She was missing her hands and had shrapnel marks all over her.

The tour guide told us that the bomber, an IRA member, got elected to public office upon his release from prison.

The Derry explosion happened in 1972, when the British and Irish were trading bombs and bullets, the former believing they were quelling an insurrection, the latter believing they were fighting to end nearly “500 years of British oppression.”

In 1998, the UK and Irish leaders signed a deal dividing Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland would be its own country. Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK but would have the powers of home rule.

In 2018, Ireland voted by referendum to legalize abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, exceptions for late-term abortions are permitted.

Abortion proponents knew they could not win a referendum in Northern Ireland.

So in 2019, the UK took advantage of the breakdown of home rule when Northern Ireland was unable to establish its own government through the parliamentary process.

Despite the agreement allowing Northern Ireland independent rule, the UK Parliament voted to establish legal abortion (and same-sex marriage) in Northern Ireland.

Death won the day when the UK forced abortion upon Northern Ireland, not through a democratic process, but through opportunism.

It is upon such issues that otherwise divided people can unite. Northern Ireland is divided by doctrine and politics but has raised a pro-life effort that calls itself “non-denominational and non-party political.”

And pro-life activists there are pushing back legislatively. Recently, a bill to restrict late-term abortions was successful through two stages of the legislative process in the re-established home rule government. Supporters call it a “first step” toward restoring protections for the unborn.

Should Ireland ever reunite, increasing pro-life activism in Ireland and already established advocacy in Northern Ireland may be enough to end the atrocity of baby-killing throughout the island.

The British over the course of centuries have prevailed in Ireland, but they have not killed the spirit of independence in the Irish.

Forcing undemocratic laws in the North ultimately may weaken British power throughout Ireland to more accurately reflect the handless queen who stands in the Derry guildhall.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, cruisethroughhistory.com

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Deus Nobis Haec Otia Fecit

Translation: God has granted us this rest.

A great gift indeed.

I’m just back from a vacation in Scotland and Ireland. Still a bit jet-lagged. My mind is filled with a clearer view of the history of that part of the world.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the ferry ride from Scotland to Ireland. There was a sense of transcendence with the journey. A compelling impression percolated through me:

I was going home.

With our ever present outerwear, I saved a table in the food court and got in line to buy some food. The table sat beside a window where my husband and I could watch the water go by. I imagined a quiet time of solitude to enjoy that transcendent peace and a portion of a book.

It was not to be. But something better came instead.

I glanced over from the food line to see a woman sitting at “our” table. I thought it rude, but there were few places to sit. And perhaps such a thing is common practice in that place. So instead of quiet, we had conversation.

She was a nurse–retired but answering a call to fill in once every week or two. She rode the ferry to and from work in Scotland and gave me my first lesson on the deep animosity that still abides in some places between the Irish and the British.

She’d had an uncle who died at Normandy. “When I was a child, we were not allowed to speak his name. He was a Catholic, and he went to fight for the British.”

This story illustrates that–as bad as the Nazis were–fighting them required allegiance to Great Britain–who according to Irish history had behaved much the same as Nazis. Alliance was a bridge too far for many.

I hadn’t realized that Ireland attempted to remain neutral during World War II. The woman on our boat said neutrality was embarrassing. She seemed proud of the uncle who fought. Perspectives change over time.

We landed in Belfast–a more industrial setting than we had seen in Scotland. The next day was Sunday, and our group was to see the Titanic Museum. I had not realized the Titanic had been constructed in Belfast–embarked from Belfast–and sank on a returning voyage from America.

But sink it did, and I imagined there might be something better to do with a Sunday morning. I investigated local churches.

The first one I found seem like it might have a universalist slant. One of the comments on its website said the church was good for people of any religion. I kept searching.

We decided on Saint Malachy’s– a short walk from our hotel. Recently restored, the church had been built in the early 1840s–completed just before the Potato Famine ravaged the country.

The church lost its windows to Nazi bombing raids. Neutrality? The Republic of Ireland is just a bit south of Belfast. Belfast is in Northern Ireland–the part of Ireland where Unionists–those loyal to the British–reside next to the Republicans–those yearning for Irish independence from the UK. Northern Ireland was officially supportive of the British during World War II–yet still hung on to neutrality.

If it sounds complicated, it is. Scotland and Northern Ireland use the pound for currency. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. The republic intends to remain part of the European Union. Northern Ireland and Scotland expect Brexit. Some want to stay. Joining the EU nearly destroyed the Scottish fishing industry, so many are eager to go.

But back to Saint Malachy’s.

That Sunday was Pentecost Sunday–the celebration of the apostles in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon them.

The priest said that life, energy, light, and growth are gifts from Holy Spirit–the Spirit we cannot see–as we cannot see the wind, but we see the effects.

The Spirit of God brings new life even in places that seem lifeless. The Spirit gives energy. Holy Spirit in us is a gift from God–at Pentecost–and every other day too.

The priest proposed a simple prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit.”

In Ireland, there is still much bad blood between the political parties–and between the parties’ members.

There is much talk about Catholics and Protestants attending schools together. There is growing secularization and shrinking church attendance. There is also talk of removing religion from public life–as if that will take away the purpose of the animosity. As if that will bring peace.

But the animosity comes from the perversion of those presenting themselves as religious, faithful people. It comes from political conflict–not with disagreements over doctrine.

It does not come from those willing to ask Holy Spirit to come.

Ireland is changing. I see that in the stained glass tributes in Belfast’s City Hall to the Irish who fought beside the British in both World War One and Two.

I see it on the television programs encouraging the removal of Ireland’s religious heritage from public life in politically slanted broadcasts.

But for a few potatoes, Ireland may have been my earthly home–rather than my home of heritage. The land is yet the home of my heart. A hurting land that needs healing and restoration from the unseen God who conveys life, growth, and peace.

Come, Holy Spirit. Come to Ireland. And shine light through her.

Photo Credit: Nancy E. Head, Saint Malachy’s Church, Belfast

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”