You’ve Got Male



Abortion and the law (Letters, Irish Times)

Why Ireland became the only country in the democratic world to have a constitutional ban on abortion (Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times)

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200 thoughts on “You’ve Got Male

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      He would prefer they had the kid, put on a ‘good’ face and lived a life of silence about it, like all good women did in the 50s.

  1. cormacjones

    Personally I’d support repealing the 8th amendment and would support going even further. But this idea that men shouldn’t be allowed to oppose abortion because they’re male is nonsense.

    I am male though….

    1. Sidewinder

      It’s not because they’re male. It’s because the fact that they’re male means they can have absolutely no chance if facing the decision they have decided to make for other people.

      Also worth noting I only have a problem with cis men opposing abortion.

      Also note that I don’t think they’re not entitled to an opinion but, given that they don’t and never will have the full picture, I do think that opinion carries less weight. Not in the ballot box maybe, but it certainly does for my money.

      1. cormacjones

        cis men?

        There have been a lot of eloquent arguments made in favour of abortion by men.

        I don’t think Dr. Peter Boylan’s opinion should count for less…

        1. Sidewinder

          That’s the account of a medical professional who says it’s up to women to decide. The two aren’t parallel. Pro-choice men say it’s up to women to decide. Anti-choice men say they can decide for women. Do you see the disparity?

          1. cormacjones

            I do see the disparity, but you said their opinion should could for less. So by your reasoning, when Dr. Boylan says doctors should be able to perform abortions to save a women’s life, that opinion would could for less than some nut job female quack Youth Defence might roll out.

            You can’t have it both ways.

          2. Sidewinder

            No, the logic does not follow through. His medical opinion is not lessened because of his gender when it is medical fact. Personal opinion or philosophy, for my money, is less so. But again, if you note the difference between anti-choice men and pro-choice men, most pro-choice men concede their personal opinion doesn’t matter and has no place in making the decision. Anti-choice men think the direct opposite of that, refusing to acknowledge that they’ll never experience the impact of that decision.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        Thought I posted this earlier but anyway.

        The gender issue in abortion is similar to the race issue in, well race. As a white person, I can be fully against racism, blatant or structural, but also recognise that the people to best be discussing these issues are POC and that the best thing that I can do is to support them in these discussions and not try to take over the debate by putting my big fat white head into it.

        Similarly, I think the above tweet expresses the frustration that many women feel with the abortion debate in that men are dictating it. While many men are supportive, there are still those who feel they are the best placed to talk about their opinions on this issue, which is rightly, an issue of women’s rights.

        So while you seem to think the two are miles apart, they are actually very similar in how they should be dealt with.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            It would certainly be a better law if people who weren’t white were also involved in writing yet. It’s hardly rocket science.

          2. Paolo

            Huh? That’s my point. Men are perfectly entitled to have an opinion on this matter without being shouted down for being men. Just like women who are beyond child-bearing age and just like women who cannot have children. They should all have their opinions respected as part of any healthy debate. I hope that we get the choice to terminate pregnancies in this country but I also hope that everyone is allowed to contribute to the debate.

  2. rotide

    The absolute CHEEK of men, having an opinion!

    And they go on to vocalise it? They should be ashamed of themselves.

    I blame the Irish Times myself. They should be holding back any and all correspondance untill they can find one badly written letter from a woman to speak for their entire readership.

    1. Sidewinder

      Yes, because that’s definitely what she’s proposing. Anymore strawmen or did you only have time to make the one?

          1. Clampers Outside!

            ….1hr 42mins later….

            Tune in next week, on the same Broadsheet thread, on the same Broadsheet topic for an answer!
            Will Rotide build a Strawman from scratch or has Sidewinder put fire to it before it started…. den, den, dennnnn!

            BOFF !
            KERBOOM !

          2. rotide

            Apologies. Work got in the way.

            I won’t be addressing this sideshow unless she answers the question about her opinions on race.

          3. rotide

            Nope, It was addressed to you, but you can’t be blamed for broadsheets formatting which makes it hard to discern threading after a certain amount of replies.

    2. Corvo

      Of course you’re allowed have and opinion, and you’re allowed vocalise it, just don’t expect everyone to thank you for your opinion, or want your opinion, or want to talk to you about your opinion, or listen to your opinion.

      1. rotide

        Well done on stating the obvious.

        Ironic considering this website is all about opinions and trying to have lesser held opinions heard more

          1. Paolo

            How can there be a debate if you don’t listen to the opinion of others? If you don’t listen to other people’s opinion then you are a polemicist.

  3. les rock

    niall boyle..most likely aged 70. 10 kids. Collects door to door for his loacal church. Hands out holy communion every Saturday and Sunday.

    1. scottser a prefessional curtain twitcher and has a shed full to the brim with confiscated footballs.

    2. paul m

      its covenient and somewhat reassuring to think Niall is a dinosaur but the terrifying reality is he is probably a well established pillar of society, young professional in a very influential position, 2 kids nice house, goes to mass, nothing from the outside that would make you think underneath he’s a 1950s fire and brimstone kind of guy. its only when he’s in his special bunker at home and the keyboard comes out, that the fury flies forth.

      funny that there’s an article in the IT today about dealing with religious radicals in ireland who are indoctrinated into militant groups fighting in the middle east yet here at home we’re happy to let radicalism thrive for years, suppressing women and childrens rights in the name of christian values. sure its harmless ted, not the same thing at all at all, cup of tea?

  4. John E. Bravo

    This is literally an ad hominem argument, which is funny. Particularly because there are so many other ways that the Niall’s points could be refuted.

      1. Medium Sized C

        John E Bravos point is, regardless of character limit, that despite the number of stances you could take in response to the letter(s), the lady has failed to refute the point.

        1. John E. Bravo

          Thanks C, although my point is almost definitely “look – a pun”, cos that’s my chief joy in life.

        2. Sidewinder

          If she was seeking to refute the point perhaps. I don’t think that’s what she was seeking to do. She was commenting on the content of the letters section, not the content of the letters themselves.

      2. John E. Bravo

        The state continually fails to give safe solutions4women in crisis pregnancies. Choice opens all avenues including those Mr. Doyle suggests.

          1. Sidewinder

            That seems like a pretty bog standard response to his letter rather than actually refuting any of his points.

  5. well

    ” the most frightening stage of human life” Sorry but a fetus that has yet to develop sentience doesn’t give a damn if you abort it.

    So i’m hoping when he says “frightening stage” he was referring to the rape victim that demanded an abortion. But given how he disregards that she might make this decision in the next paragraph i doubt it.

  6. andyourpointiswhatexactly

    That woman really lessens her argument by making it anti-men. They’ve every right to have an opinion and vote, even if the opinion’s arse-ways.
    This is exactly what used to drive me bananas when I studied gender law. Bloody fanatical feminists. Fanatics of ANY KIND are bad news.

    1. Starina

      again, as Sidewinder said, “It’s not because they’re male. It’s because the fact that they’re male means they can have absolutely no chance if facing the decision they have decided to make for other people.”

      1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

        That’s how democracy works. Do you really think that the only people who should be allowed vote on anything are those directly affected by it? That’s nonsense.

    2. Sancho

      Notably, it’s very often that the women opposing abortion tend to be beyond child bearing years too.

      My major criticism of the pro-lifers is that they take a very ideological stance to a very personal problem. They know full well that Ireland’s health care will never be able to provide proper care to rape victims but they demand that it should as if such a demand is a kind of solution. They know thousands travel abroad and (likely) demand they shouldn’t- as if such demand is a solution. They fail to engage on the problem of fatal foetal abnormalities. They have the luxury of doing all this because they can’t get pregnant. While I respect their view on the unborn on one hand, their failure to engage substantively on many of the difficult issues is, I believe, unreasonable, because it is a luxury not available to those whom their stance most affects.

      1. Sidewinder

        Tbf though I think many men come to the “pro-life” position easily because they can’t give birth. Whereas the reason so many “pro-life” women are too old to give birth is that they grew up in a time when the “pro-life” church dogma was beaten into kids from an early age.

        1. Sidewinder

          Although the same can be said for older men, I just think fewer of them change their minds with age and experience (because they don’t get the same experience).

    3. Niamh

      A society so patriarchal it will deny an abortion to, force-feed, and cut open a pregnant woman is already fanatical. Pussyfooting about and acting like the patriarchal logic which created this should be appeased by giving men an equal say in abortion won’t help this. To say as much isn’t to be ‘radical’. If you think so, I’d seriously question what looks moderate to you. Giving a group which have more power in society a 50% stake in shit that has nothing to do with them?

  7. Franco

    Really stupid tweet. Why can’t men criticise a Fintan O’ Toole article? How is it “completely abstract”?

    1. Starina

      as Sidewinder said, “It’s not because they’re male. It’s because the fact that they’re male means they can have absolutely no chance if facing the decision they have decided to make for other people.”

          1. ABM's bloody underwear

            No, no. The condescending “Oh poor man being bullied by the nasty wimmenz” type of horse-poo you come out with is more than adequate.

    1. The Real Ed

      Here BS – Helen/Jesse has hijacked my username. I thought you didn’t allow personation in comment threads Please have a word. Not cool.

    2. Jam

      no term limit? That would be unprecedented. In rallying against one extreme unjustifiable position you have adopted one of your own. Sentience occurs pre birth. What you are proposing is sick.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        (a) There is a pretty large precedent – Canada has no term limits.

        (b) Sentience isn’t a widely-understood word and has many meanings ranging from “has a pain response” to “is a fully aware entity”. You need to define your terms more carefully if your goal is to be understood. Don’t thank me, thank the animal rights people who’ve done a number on the definition of that word so they can claim your club sandwich was sentient.

        (c) The reason for not having term limits is that many fatal foetal abnormalities aren’t detected or detectable until later in the pregnancy. If the foetus didn’t develop normally, what are you going to do, force the mother to carry to term? We’re not talking about having eleven toes here, you’re talking about something traumatic for everyone involved (and if you don’t care about not sleeping tonight and want to know exactly what I mean, google image search the term anencephaly or even just read its wikipedia entry and then imagine having to carry a foetus with that for three extra months and then delivering it).

        1. Paolo

          The OP said “Abortion on demand” and “No term limits”. This means that anyone would be able to source an abortion for any reason and at any time. That is monstrous.

          The situation in Canada is as a result of their previous abortion law being repealed and every Government since has failed to pass a new law. It is a legal anomaly and not something any civilised country should follow.

          1. Mark Dennehy

            Canada *does* have abortion law and it is not a legal anomaly – they just have their abortion law in their Health Act instead of criminal law like we do and the decisions get made by doctors and patients.

            As to being able to source an abortion at any time and for any reason, pregnant women are also free to drink a bottle of scotch every day, walk into traffic, starve themselves to death and do all manner of things that aren’t good for the fetus so if you think saying they’re not allowed a medical procedure carried out in a safe environment by professionals is a solution to this nonproblem, then (a) you’ve not thought about it long enough, and (b) you’ve rather missed the point of this whole thing in the first place and are busily thinking that abortion’s wrong and pregnant women are incapable of making moral judgements so youother people need to make those judgments and enforce them.

            And that’s kindof an asshat sort of thing to do. And decent people have a problem with people who do that.

          2. Sidewinder

            Why? What happened in Canada? You’d think if the world ended there it would be on the news.

  8. Llareggub

    These men are dealing with ideas rather than actual events – theory as opposed to reality – abstract therefore. Nothing at all stupid about her tweet.

    1. andyourpointiswhatexactly

      She didn’t need to make the “none of whom can ever be pregnant” dig though. No sh*t, Sherlock.

      1. Niamh

        But it’s very significant, and being overlooked. It’s not only that men can’t get pregnant – they can’t be vaginally raped and impregnated, they are less likely to be assaulted, abused, and raped in childhood and adolescence, they do not have to worry about assault to the same degree, they will never be forced to miscarry slowly, they will never have a speculum inserted into their cervix to open them from within and leave them vulnerable to septic infection (Savita), they’ll never have to face refusal or a judgmental interview when seeking the morning-after pill, they don’t live in a world which objectifies and celebrates sexual violence towards them in porn, video games, and media, they don’t have a history of being discrimminated against for their gender, and they have no idea what it is like to have a stillbirth, a pregnancy, a caeserian, or even a period. The experiences of women don’t feature in public discourses because the default position we operate from, culturally speaking, is male. This is why less male input and more female input is neccesary in this case to redress the balance. If you have a problem with that you might want to think why it bothers you so much that, of all the privilege your gender has afforded you, you begrudge women a greater say over this issue which pertains only to them, and results from the fact that we are routinely denied bodily autonomy, especially when pregnant.

    2. Medium Sized C

      If we follow that rationale, anybody who has not become pregnant as a result of being raped is speaking in completely abstract terms.

      We can apply this half-assed logic to tonnes of different attrocities…..

      If you aren’t a Gazan who has been killed, maimed or bereaved by Israeli bombs, any reference to the recent atrocities are completely abstract.

      If you haven’t been evicted as a result of financial difficulties you can’t talk about the reality of eviction, only abstractions.

      The point is fundamentally correct, but an incredibly stupid one to make.

      OR she is just saying that they can’t be correct because they are men, which is a logical fallacy and fundamentally incorrect.

      1. Starina

        more strawmen. all women have the potential to have an unwanted pregnancy. all women have thought about what they would do if they had an unwanted pregnancy. all women have worried about being raped.

        on the other hand, no cis man has ever worried what he would do if he were raped and got pregnant.

        1. rotide

          “more strawmen”.
          It’s not. It relates directly to what the original point was.

          ” all women have the potential to have an unwanted pregnancy.”
          False. Should those women not have a say then?

          “all women have thought about what they would do if they had an unwanted pregnancy.”
          False. Should those women not have a say?

          Also,. wtf is “CIS”?

          1. Medium Sized C

            If you have a johnson but feel you are a woman, you are trans.
            If you have a johnson and feel you are a man you are cis.

          2. rotide

            ok, just wiki’d it and lost all respect for sidewinder and starina for using that term.


          3. Sidewinder

            Wow, you googled it? Amazing. And now you’ve no respect for my opinion in an argument about respecting people’s opinions? Classic.

            Thank for your for so neatly expressing why I shouldn’t bother my hole with you.

          4. Medium Sized C

            Its a term from the transgender community.
            Things are complicated. Not being transgendered and not really giving a fupp about their politics, I don’t care to know anymore than that.

          5. rotide

            Yes, I googled it. Take that as a little victory.

            I just cannot for the life of me work out why you chose to introduce such a tiny niche area into a debate that had no need for it.

            From where i’m sitting it looks like you just wanted to use the word to establish your bona fides.

          6. Sidewinder

            Don’t be so effing ridiculous. There was a very specific and clear reason for mentioning it. At the bloody core of the debate in fact. Trans men can get pregnant therefore it’s relevant to specify that.

          1. Jane

            Barren? Yeah, what you call barren women can have an opinion – anyone can. But the difference between men and what you call barren women is that what you call barren women are women who will be affected by some of the issues this whole debate raises. In my opinion, this isn’t really about whether women should be allowed kill cute ikkle babbies before they’ve even had a chance to liiiiive, it’s about whether we accept that women are people who control what happens to their own bodies, or whether we think women are just a resource to be used to create other people regardless of what they may or may not think about it, or how that may or may not affect them in the short or long term.

          2. ABM's bloody underwear

            Barren is a term of abuse now, is it?

            And I believe everyone, what you call men would also be affected by some of the issues this whole debate raises.

            Your ickle wickle babby talk is just adorable. By the way, I’m referring here to just you. Not everyone. Not all women. Not all men.
            Just you.

          3. Don Pidgeoni

            Well, its kinda crappy thing to call someone. Makes you sound like a baby farm or something

          4. ABM's bloody underwear

            It’s a description. I wouldn’t refer to her as Mrs/Ms Barren.
            Are we reduced to having a debate through charades now?

            Is the goal to get a referendum or descend into a free-for-all internal fight over every tiny facet of the issue?

          5. Don Pidgeoni

            Yes! I bet you the last biscuit in the office you couldn’t leave that be. Thank you!

            *nom nom*

          6. ABM's bloody underwear

            I don’t really care what you think. The fact that you decided to take offense at a term that wasn’t meant to be offensive and then accuse me of being defensive is laughable.

            More laughable is the fact that me and the rest of the office staff were playing soggy biscuit and replying to you on purpose.


          7. Caroline

            Well now, when he says “rest of the office” he means his Warhammer collection, and when he says “biscuit” he means photograph of his mother, but otherwise yeah, suck it up Don.

          8. ABM's bloody underwear

            The only offense I took is that you deleted your previous comment about chocolate digestives. Also, it’s your office, unless you’re stealing biscuits from other people’s offices.

          9. ABM's bloody underwear

            No problem Don, they appear in my inbox though. Glad you’re enjoying them.
            I’ll stop replying now though as it is looking a bit weird on the forum and poor Caroline is probably upset that no one is giving recognition to her acerbic wit.

    3. Paolo

      What about a woman who cannot get pregnant for some medical reason? Is she entitled to an opinion?

      1. Sidewinder

        Plenty of women who have been told they were “barren” as ye persist in calling it only to later on bear children. Besides which the heart of the law is severely sexist. All women have a vested interest in opposing misogynistic laws.

        1. ABM's bloody underwear

          So they were misdiagnosed then. The point still stands. Pedantry aside, if some women state that men should voice no opinion on this issue as they cannot bear children, should the same apply to women unable to bear children?

          1. Niamh

            1. It’s not that they can’t have an opinion, it’s that their opinion has no practical application
            2. abortion legislation doesn’t just relate to immediately pregnant or impregnable women – it relates to all women who have been subject to symbolic violence (as in, unwanted medical interventions ‘in the interest of the foetus’, which happens all the time, sexual assault, or discrimination) because abortion is a social justice issue that effects women because they are discriminated against and denied bodily autonomy for being women.

  9. huppenstop

    Well, on an individual basis, until a woman becomes pregnant, decides she wants to have a termination and is denied one, then it the issue of the constitutional ban is for her also “completely abstract”. As others have noted this is a weak line of attack given the poor quality of the reasoning in the letter.

    1. Sidewinder

      Completely disagree. Potential pregnancy is an issue that faces women in every major decision they (and often others) make about their lives.

      It affects job applications, interview success, career progression and personal finances. Note that all of the above is literally just if you have a womb, never mind if it’s working or if you even plan to use it. Just being female is enough.

      1. huppenstop

        My point was that it is still abstract. You even use the phrase “potential pregnancy” in your reply to me, which is still dealing in the abstract. That’s all I was saying :) Unless you are currently pregnant and don’t want to be, or if you have sought and been denied a termination in the past then the constitutional ban on abortion is still an abstract issue for you. Having a womb doesn’t make this any more concrete. You may have a womb and never become pregnant. You may have a womb and be infertile. I’m not saying that talking about things in the abstract is wrong. I’m gay and don’t have any real urge to get married to another man, but I’d still like the option, for instance. I just think that to dismiss male viewpoints on the basis that they can never become pregnant is short sighted. I’m strongly pro-choice but I also believe that we have to move forward on this as a society. We can win this on the basis of solid arguments for personal bodily autonomy, we don’t need to resort to dismissing people’s right to express their opinion on the basis of what reproductive organs they have.

        1. Jane

          Having been pregnant myself, with various outcomes, I can’t actually agree with this. I think women do have an awareness of pregnancy and the effects it has on your life that men really don’t. You will struggle to find a any woman who thinks that the alternative to abortion is just waiting the nine months out, giving birth and then putting the baby up for adoption, because women do have an appreciation of the permanent physical, psychological and financial challenges pregnancy makes. Women talk about these things frequently amongst ourselves – our mothers and friends tell us things that men don’t know. Or want to know. If I had a choice, I also wouldn’t want to know.

          But it’s not only that. All women have their earning capacity and ability to find work reduced by the perception that being in possession of a womb makes you a liability. Even if you are never pregnant in your lifetime, your life chances have been affected by it.

          The problem with men taking it upon themselves to pontificate about abortion is that all of this – if they even know any of it – is pure theory. It’s easy to come up with lots of things that people should do in an ideal world, particularly if, once having made your pronouncement, you can simply wash your hands of the consequences. Including the consequences you don’t even know about.

          1. huppenstop

            I don’t want to labour the point, but I was really pointing out that I don’t think the original tweeter fully grasps the meaning of the word “abstract” and that it can also apply to many women in relation to the abortion debate.

            And your point

            “But it’s not only that. All women have their earning capacity and ability to find work reduced by the perception that being in possession of a womb makes you a liability. Even if you are never pregnant in your lifetime, your life chances have been affected by it.”

            relates to sexual discrimination, not abortion per se. If abortion on demand were introduced in the morning, it wouldn’t have an effect on discriminatory employers and practices.

          2. Paolo

            What about a woman who is barren? Can she have an opinion on the matter?

            [I’m pro-choice, I just hate the idea that some people are entitled to voice an opinion on this while others are not]

          3. Sidewinder

            Can you all please stop saying that anyone thinks men aren’t entitled to an opinion? No-one has said this.

      2. huppenstop

        Also I really disagree with ” Note that all of the above is literally just if you have a womb, never mind if it’s working or if you even plan to use it. Just being female is enough.” How can potential pregnancy affect you if you have a non-working womb?

        1. Sidewinder

          Because not everybody knows that your womb doesn’t work and you’re unlikely to declare it in a job interview or during salary negotiations.

          1. huppenstop

            That’s sexual discrimination. I don’t see what your point has to do with abortion. If abortion were legal, discrimination based on gender would still exist in the workplace and with respect to pay. It wouldn’t be a case of a previously sexist employer saying “we’ll hire her now that abortion is legal. If she gets pregnant, she can have a termination”.

        2. Jane

          “relates to sexual discrimination, not abortion per se. If abortion on demand were introduced in the morning, it wouldn’t have an effect on discriminatory employers and practices.”

          True, it does. I think my point was that there are consequences to pregnancy that men are free to ignore – and women aren’t. Reduced chances at work are just one example of how all women, even those who can’t or don’t want to become pregnant are affected by pregnancy in a way that men can easily ignore when they’re making a profit/loss account to show why women should just do pregnancy (it’s only nine months you silly wagon, once it’s done, it’s done), and not have access to abortion.

          1. huppenstop

            I understand what you mean. And I think the original tweeter’s intention was probably to try to point out something similar, namely that women who become pregnant are affected by pregnancy in ways that a man can never be. I think everyone posting on this forum probably gets this. I just think that she expressed it clumsily. I made a point above about trying to move things forward as a society and I think that is the way we should aspire to organise ourselves. And I just don’t think we should attempt to limit discourse to certain groups :) God, I felt I this post was about to sink into “but why can’t we all just get along” territory :)

    1. Llareggub

      Hey Odious, is that what you carve on the back of toilet doors when you’re a bit annoyed with women folk.

  10. Alfred E. Neumann

    “Four letters about Gaza in the Irish Times, all from people in Malahide. Completely abstract.”

  11. postmanpat

    It’s a mans world and a Catholic country. If men could get pregnant then one could get an abortion at a drive through McDonalds and we would all be raised in a world where we think of fetuses for what they are, a lump of cells with no self awareness, not some magical gift. Sexist law is anti women, pure and simple.

    1. Paolo

      Just interested, at what point do you think a foetus gains awareness and a central nervous system?

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Not at the same time anyway. The CNS is there for weeks before it turns on at all. Thing is, it’s a lot easier to tell you when awareness CANNOT occur (when the neurons aren’t mature enough to fire, when the fetus isn’t producing neurotransmitters, and so on) but even there you just get a range of between 17 and 20 weeks or so. Nobody has a firm date for when awareness does occur – seriously, it’s not like we don’t know if it’s week 30 or 31 that it kicks in, there are good arguments that it doesn’t kick in until several weeks *AFTER* birth.

        It’s not helped along any by the point that “awareness” isn’t a well-defined term, nor by the point that there are several stages of self-awareness, nor by the point that everyone has their own definition of the word and few think about that definition or question if it’s correct. It’s a great big wavy-handy fuzzy thing.

        1. Paolo

          If you pinch a newborn baby, he/she will let you know about it. If a baby is not “aware” for several weeks after birth then there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with it. Any parent can tell you that. My best friend has a daughter that was born 8 weeks premature and she was certainly aware of her surroundings. One of their main problems was trying to connect up the medical monitoring equipment because she kept pushing it away.

          1. Sidewinder

            And anyone who has studied early childhood development or normal developmental milestones will tell you that a newborn’s reflexes are not specific to whether a sense experienced is positive or negative.

          2. Mark Dennehy

            If I pinch a newborn mouse it’ll let me know about it too, that doesn’t mean it’ll get to vote in the 2032 general elections.

            You’re confusing “pain response” which everything from jellyfish to humans have, with “self-awareness” which does not develop in normal humans for several years.

            Yes, years. You’re not talking about two similar things there, but two ends of a wide spectrum and it takes time to become fully self-aware (and yes, there are stages of self-awareness and yes, you move through the first few much earlier, but the final stages take years).

            And my son had the same issue with the monitoring equipment. It wasn’t because he was conscious and annoyed – it’s because damn near any living organism on the planet responds to pain even when they don’t have enough brain cells to be conscious of it as pain the way we think of pain. Ants have a pain response – I don’t think you could accuse them of deep thought outside of cool 1970s sci-fi films but poke them and they move away from the source of the poking.

            More to the core of your point, your kid doesn’t have to emerge from the birth canal quoting philosophy for you to not dump them straight into an industrial plastic shredder. It’s part of natural development for it to take time and for parents to watch their kids grow into people. Hell, if they did pop out Minerva-like, chatting away to the midwife, half of the Holles St. maternity ward would be lining up to burn the witch, to say nothing of people in general.

            And the corollary is equally true – even a late-term abortion is not destroying a self-aware fully functioning person (and in the real world, the foetal abnormalities that cause such late term abortions mean that the foetus never would be able to develop into a person, ever, because the physical damage is so extreme).

          3. Eve

            Mark, thanks for your careful reply about awareness, I really enjoyed reading it.
            I have two little girls and it’s clear it takes months or years for kids to gain awareness of self. Sure in the first few months of their life, babies think they are one with their mother (famous 4th trimester) and it’s a giant developmental leap for them to learn the difference between them and mom

          4. Jay

            Reaction to stimulus isn’t the same as awareness. Plants can close up in reaction to a touch in the same way a baby will grasp a finger. It’s not like the plants neurons are firing in its well developed brain.

  12. Llareggub

    You’re a man. Someone, a woman lets’ say, forcibly takes some of your sperm under violent circumstances against your will. You feel violated, dirty, used, abused. Then that someone you hate takes your sperm and fuses it one of her eggs and injects it back into your body. You are then forced to carry that zygote for nine months, enduring sickness, psychological torture, fear, all the time feeling like your body has been invaded, penetrated against your will. You are just a vessel to take this zygote to full term. How do you feel now?

  13. Drogg

    You can see the media training these right wing morons are now trying to put into action. “It’s totally not about religion right, it’s about human rights cause all you leftys love human rights and we now want to give human rights to a bunch of cells in your womb, because we care. Well we care until you are born and then will treat you like s**t till you die”.

    1. Mark Dennehy

      That’s because this whole thing is not and never has been about the rights of the unborn or any such nonsense – it’s about DO WHAT I F**KING TELL YOU OR ELSE versus having a choice. The lovely abused children who grew up to become Youth Defence or Family And Life or whomever generally don’t understand the idea of having an actual, real, choice; but beating and/or abusing someone unless they do what they’re told, that’s familiar territory to them.

      1. El Cuno

        absolutely correct Mark. As with all things religious, it is about power and control over people’s lives. Why do you think confession was invented? So the local priest was the only one who had dirt on everyone in town…
        I have always thought that if you’re anti-abortion, don’t have one. But then stop interfering in my problems. This is the last stand so they Catholic nutjobs are holding on for dear life…

    1. Jay

      Yeah, I noticed the lifetime of silence thing. Also describing it as the easy option, because of course we should make them go through significant difficulties.

  14. Splutter

    Students’ opinions in respect of income tax should be ignored so? Or should we weight votes in respect of tax-related issues by income?

    Only bankers can discuss bankers’ pay?

    Or, to get really emotive, the views of women who cannot have children are less important than those of child-bearing women?

    This argument is daft. I am a man. I have opinions in respect of abortion. I also have sufficient empathy and intelligence to understand that this does not effect me in the same way as it does women. This informs my opinions. It does not invalidate them.

    1. well

      “Students’ opinions in respect of income tax should be ignored so?”

      No because they will all eventually work.

      The number of men throughout history that have died in Maternity is 0.

      1. Jess

        Men know that. Pro choice men are not idiots, they recognise that they cannot know to the same extent what its like to have a crisis pregnancy. That does not invalidate their opinion anymore than the outrage around the world at the treatment of Palestinians is invalidated by the fact people are not palestinians.

        There will be a referendum sooner rather than later. Can we please try and stop alienating those that are on our side. The prolife crowd must be delighted at how were reacting.

        1. Jay

          This is a pretty good call, given that there’s probably at least a half million of us that would vote in favour of repeal and without those votes we’ll end up with it still in place.

  15. MintyFresh

    Think this guy Niall may be a neighbour of mine. If it is who I think it is, he could be living in deluded denial. His kids are noisy terrors.

  16. Clampers Outside!

    Good man Fintan. I found myself nodding along to his piece and wanted to punch the bloody screen reading the letters…. then I realised, sure the referendum will sort these fupps out…. hahahahahaha!


  17. rotide

    Judging by the opinions of some here, most of us cannot be allowed to have an opinion on race relations because we are white and will never know what it is like to be black in Ireland. Is that correct?

    1. Nially

      Actually, it’s more that you’re not allowed to have an opinion along the lines of “I, as a white person, am in the best position to tell all of these black people what’s best for them, and to enact laws that remove their capacity to choose for themselves, and I’ll probably be a smug, patronising dick about it while I’m at it”.

      Or at least, you can’t do that and expect not to be called a racist and mocked on Twitter.

    2. will-billy


      how ironic that what this thread clearly shows is that you are clearly free to broadcast your stupidity on www

  18. Rompsky

    I sure hope there’s no referendum on the asylum seekers issue because there’s gonna be a lot of people not qualified to give an opinion…

    1. Niamh

      There was. It was called the twenty-eight amendment. It denied citizenship to children born of non-Irish parents in Ireland because the media exaggerated the amount of African babies being born in Dublin and fabricated a ‘pregnant tourism’ scare. This is why referendums are unsuited to dealing with minority issues, which should instead be legislated for as human rights issues, without a vote. Democracy doesn’t mean that my ignorance on an issue that doesn’t affect me is equal in value to the experiences of a member of a minority group – be that an asylum seeker, or women who require abortions.

  19. Kara

    So BS your problem is that a man dared voice an opinion?
    Is that not sexism?
    He is perfectly entitled to his opinion. As a woman I’d be horrified at the thought of sidelining all men in this debate or sending the message to my own generation that pregnancy and consequently child rearing is solely a woman’s issue. It’s not and to perpetuate this notion is dangerous for the children of men who swallow this suddenly convenient trendy line.
    I can disregard the opinion of a man I disagree with just as easily as I can a woman. I’d much rather hear any opinion than have some internet rag silence a whole swathe of the population.

  20. Jess

    This is why the left always fails in Ireland. Instead of trying to gather more people to our causes we split and find fault and argue over petty things.

    If you want to win, you need numbers. You can’t win with only a hardcore, you need the middle and the undecideds too. The right have understood this for decades that’s why they come out with populist nonsense, half truths and would partner with satan if it got them the result they wanted.

    This thread and every conversation I’ve heard since the march last wednesday has not been fostering unity of purpose but hierarchy of rights. It is the single biggest obstacle to repealing the 8th. If were going to do it we need allies, stop fecking alienating them or we will lose. Democracy is a number game people.

    1. Nially

      Because clearly, “robust quality” is the marker of which letters the Irish Times chooses to publish, as evidenced by the frequent “only published for the groanworthy pun” two-liners.

  21. Sidewinder

    Why so many people persist in interpreting this and that Wednesday’s speech as some kind of call to silence and censor all men all the time is beyond me.

    1. Mikeyfex

      If it’s beyond you just leave it. One in six comments on this thread at the moment are yours. With respect, you won’t change the world on the lower half of BS.

      1. Sidewinder

        No, only listening to the phrase “know your place” in an entire speech has that effect.

        And regardless of how people perceive it and the affect their perception has, it’s still not what she said.

        1. Jess

          Then she is at best a terrible speaker and at worst bad for the movement.

          When its shouted louder than anything else in the speech and is clearly designed to antagonise, don’t be surprised that it overshadows otherwise valid points you make.

          1. Sidewinder

            By all means, you’re absolutely entitled to your opinion on her as a speaker, I agree that tactically it wasn’t good. But again, no-one has said men shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion.

          2. Jess

            It has been argued that it has significant less value, approaching nil. And you and others are entitled to that opinion too, but if you want to get the numbers you need to win a referendum then keep it to yourself as you’re only alienating your allies.

            If men need to know their place, we need to know our position

        1. ABM's bloody underwear

          Listen to the speech from ARN speaker where she lays down the law on what can and can not be said by men.

          1. Sidewinder

            I listened to it. She said no such thing. If you disagree I’ll have a quite please. With context if you don’t mind.

          2. ABM's bloody underwear

            I’m not wading through that rant again, she starts saying that men should never speak to women on the subject or bring up some program of studies, men’s debate is not her life and so on.

            If you want a quote, transcribe it yourself and I’ll show you the part.

          3. will-billy

            so fuppin what, one woman’s badly phrased pov becomes a casus belli for misogyny and bullying, you weak little pussy-so-called man?

  22. Don Pidgeoni

    Sorry ABMs pants. BS aren’t letting me reply to you so enjoying your biscuit-related sexual antics.

  23. Franco

    Let’s hope ‘the Sidewinder sleeps tonite’ after all those tiring comments. DON’T ‘call me when you try to wake her up’

    1. Sidewinder

      Ah, getting mocked for voicing an opinion by people who claim to defend someone’s right to voice an opinion. The irony.

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