Termination Transformation

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ciara

Greystones GP Dr Ciara Kelly and member of RTÉ’s Operation Transformation, writing in today’s Irish Independent outlines how her views on abortion have changed.

Like most people my age in Ireland, I was brought up in a pro-life household. My 12-year-old self accepted without question the explanation, that abortion was bad and I saw the tiny brass feet worn on jacket lapels in 1983 as cute rather than macabre.

Despite being otherwise liberal, I was slightly appalled when someone suggested to me that their solution to a theoretical, unplanned pregnancy was a flight to the UK. “Never,” I thought. My self-righteous teenage self believed that having a baby in every circumstance was the right thing to do.

I entered my 30s. I was now a GP and a parent. I’d four healthy children born into a loving home. I was lucky. But I saw many pregnant women who weren’t. Women on their own, unable to cope. Women who were sexually assaulted. Women with cancer. Women with foetal abnormalities. I saw the harsh reality that in a crisis pregnancy, there’s an incredibly private, personal and difficult choice to be made. I became, over those 20 years, pro-choice.

Because we don’t have ‘no abortion’ in Ireland, we merely import the service, by exporting our patients. This is a continuum of the treatment of women that saw mother and baby homes, forced adoptions, a ban on contraception and still, to this day, the mighty legal framework of the constitution imposed on what should be a deeply private and personal decision.

We wouldn’t force someone to donate an organ against their wishes, to save someone’s life – even if they were the only one who could save them. Because we respect a donor’s autonomy and right to choose. But that’s what we force on women: The legal right to life of one, at the expense of another’s body.

You will never convince me that an embryonic being is equal to a sentient grown woman. It’s like comparing an acorn to an oak tree. And I fail to understand why we’ve been so fixated on this single issue – but part of me feels it’s punitive. Feels it’s about punishing those ‘easy’ women, the way we’ve always done in this country. Heaping shame, misery and a good dose of guilt onto them Irish style. The way we’ve always done.

I’ve never been in the position where I needed to consider an abortion – lucky me. But not every woman is as lucky. And unless you walk in those shoes you shouldn’t get to decide about her body and her life. These women are not vessels to be forced into pregnancies against their wishes. They’re independent adult women who will likely agonise more about their decision than all those who lecture them.

It is for these reasons that I must add my voice to the increasing clamour to repeal the eighth amendment. A foetus is not equal to a grown woman and only a strange mind-set would think it was. The same mind-set that ironically would ban contraception but punish girls for unplanned pregnancies.


Dr Ciara Kelly: ‘The harsh facts that saw me change my mind on abortion’ (Irish Independent)

Previously: Critic Proof

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21 thoughts on “Termination Transformation

  1. PhilJo

    Dr. Ciara Kelly documenting the process of growing out of a dogmatic mindset into one that seeks to provide pragmatic assistance.

    Plainly spoken common sense

  2. epson aculaser c100

    Great stuff Ciara, whats the story with you re:radio schedule wise, so I’ll know when to crackle
    the oul wireless along to Newstalk & get the ear burnt off me with your opinions on a good chardonnay, road traffic matters etc….see if ye can get that blow-in Clodagh McKenna to co-cackle the show and tell us how she finds love/hate “actually really really scary”

    Ta.

  3. Joe Malone

    wow, she is a Dr so her opinion must be somehow worth more than others! Her logic is somewhat flawed and laced with strawmen, but, that aside, who does she think she is? some sort of Gandhi figure or something?
    I especially like her strawman that no one will convince her that a foetus is equal to a woman.
    Another random woman outs herself as a pro-abort. Slow news day around here folks!

    1. Karl Monaghan

      It’s certainly worth more than say, Sean Brady (not a medical partitioner, protects serial rapists rather than children) or a priest in general (general not medical practioners, celibate with most not having a romantic relationship in decades, unlikely to deal with the harsh reality that women have to deal with on a day to day basis, member of an overtly homophobic and misogynistic organisation).

      But sure, that doesn’t matter does it because Dr Kelly hasn’t listened to her (alleged) betters and actually formed an opinion herself. Shame on her!

    2. Ahjayzis

      In what way is that a strawman?

      By forcing a woman to carry on a pregnancy against her will you’re not just saying the clump of cells is her equal, you’re saying it’s her better.

      But sure that’s a strawman cause sure didn’t de baby Jezus nosh say ta luv da bebbies n all n anyways de endeh de day xxx

      Take care Anti-Woman/Womb-Dictator/Regressive-Troll

      Yours,

      Pro-Abort

  4. Flembo

    Well done Dr. of common sense…

    “Because we don’t have ‘no abortion’ in Ireland, we merely import the service, by exporting our patients.”

    Nicely put. :)

    1. Domestos

      Yep. This reads better than: “exporting the problem”, and the awful phrase “an Irish solution to an Irish problem”.

  5. Ferret McGruber

    Brilliantly, logically and humanely put Dr. Kelly. I, for one, thank you for your reasoned input into the debate.

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