Getting Behind The Eighth

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desguckian

Leitrim Councillor Des Guckian (with arms raised)

“I think its extremely important that politicians of all sorts give leadership, and leadership to the public that actually voted them into office.

“And that if there’s something so serious as an attempt to undermine the 8th amendment to the Constitution going on, that we’ve got to stand up, we’ve got to show a little bit of backbone anyway.”

Independent Leitrim Councillor Des Guckian talking to Newstalk this morning after Leitrim councillors passed his motion opposed to “any attempts to repeal or water down the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution” [which provides for a constitutional ban on abortion].

Leitrim County Council passes motion opposed to repealing the 8th amendment (Newstalk)

Leitrim councillors pass anti-abortion motion (OceanFM)

81 thoughts on “Getting Behind The Eighth

    1. The Real Jane

      Indeed. Why can’t they just leave us alone and concentrate on their own business? Maybe they can pass motions against male violence against women, which often begins during pregnancy or shortly after birth when women are at their most vulnerable? Maybe that would be a useful pro pregnancy campaign for them to really get behind?

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            I’d turn you off and on again, something’s gone glitchy in there

      1. SB

        But around 50% of the electorate that voted them in was female. Either they voted for the men, or there weren’t enough female candidates because females didn’t think it was important enough to stand for election

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          Why, did they campaign on a platform of defending the 8th amendment?

          “Females”

          1. SB

            What exactly does “females” say? It certainly doesn’t say anything about my own position on the matter, which you know nothing of. I was merely using the same terminology that scottser did. Get off your high horse. There are a lot of radical people on the Repeal side that may easily alienate fellow supporters, and push people on the fence is the wrong direction. My post above was an objective, factual observation. The councillors in Leitrim didn’t just appear in office, they were voted in.

      2. Joe

        and you can guarantee that those women are religion otherwise they’d not have got elected do that’s 3 against abortion straight off the bat

      1. Neilo

        @fluffy: those are terrible figures. It can sometimes be very hard for battered men to seek the help they need.

        1. fluffybiscuits

          both groups would find it tough. The council have a role in the area of temporary accommodation and have failed miserably. It comes as no surprise that they have failed women once again with a motion over an issue that does not concern the council at all…

    2. jambon

      Ooh, white people … oooh, the middle-aged … ooooh, men … would you ever go off and pass your own bowel motion of backed-up regurgitated juvenile internet rubbish. And take the 8th amendment with you and flush that too.

      1. mauriac

        whatever about this issue the ,”white people” tag as a pejorative shorthand for the establishment status quo is an embarrassing import from America considering that Ireland is 90%+ white .

        1. fluffybiscuits

          Its also a tenet of Marxism which looks at the mechanics of the state and how it oppresses people. It has been used in a lot of studies to look at the establishment and why it does not work because you have a particular demographic that is overwhelmingly imposing its will on others. Again that is another hall mark of the “white middle aged male dominated establishment” – patronising people by dismissing the terms out of hand to somehow seem superior. Women call is mansplaining…

          1. mauriac

            think you are conflating gender conflict theory which is certainly relevant to this debate with pointless , distracting & vague racial elements.

        2. Daisy Chainsaw

          Let’s go with “Pillar of the Community” instead of “white people”. Good old pillars of the community and attitudes to their women. You’re “property”, you’re a “vessel” to produce more property. Sure they hate the gays in Leitrim too.

      1. fluffybiscuits

        Nibert I happend to be lucky. I was born fabulous

        My mother blared Donna Summer and Bette Midler into her womb so I wouldnt be terminated when I was born

        Other fetuses were not so fabulous however…

  1. Nessy

    What was said: “And that if there’s something so serious as an attempt to undermine the 8th amendment to the Constitution going on, that we’ve got to stand up, we’ve got to show a little bit of backbone anyway,”

    What should have been said:
    “And if there’s something so serious as an attempt to undermine democracy, a woman’s right to healthcare, body autonomy and their rights in general going on.. then we’ve got to show a little bit of backbone…” – Said no government minister ever…

  2. Caroline™

    Brave Des Guckian, sticking his neck out for a toothless motion, with what will surely be a hugely unpopular position to take in Leitrim. That’s leadership.

          1. Ivor

            So you know what you said was meaningless?

            So tell me again why people who would object to condescending British stereotypes of Irish people are perfectly happy to use those stereotypes when it comes to people from Leitrim, Roscommon and Donegal?

  3. ReproBertie

    It wasn’t exactly an overwhelming majority. From the newstalk link: “His motion attracted heated debate – but was ultimately passed by seven votes to five. Six councillors abstained. Sinn Féin councillor Seadhna Logan tabled a counter-proposal that called for a referendum to be held to repeal the 8th amendment. However, this was defeated by five votes to four, with 10 abstaining.”

    This is just bizarre: Councillor Guckian says “I am standing up for the parents of people with disability, and those parents tell me that they value their children with disability and they would never part with them.”

    But nobody is asking them to. Repealing the 8th won’t mean compulsory abortions and has nothing at all to do with parents custody of their children, disabled or not.

    1. Kieran NYC

      Yup. You just got a preview of the worst, nastiest part of the Iona campaign right there.

      “Vote Repeal And Abort The Disabled!”

    2. Ivor

      The way she phrased it certainly makes no sense but the availability of abortion when combined with a growing ability to test for the possibility of various biological conditions means that there would be fewer people born with conditions such as autism and Down Syndrome.

      While that might sound good to some, many people with disabilities view those disabilities as being based predominantly on social structures rather than biology. They might compare it to the situation gays and lesbians found themselves in a few decades back.

      None of which makes a whole lot of difference to people with firm opinions on the matter, but might influence people who are undecided and whose sympathy is torn between the pregnant woman and child.

      1. Starina

        I get what you’re saying, but comparing Down Syndrome to being gay is false equivalence. It doesn’t have the same impact on the parents, carers, or the quality of life of the potential person.

        1. Ivor

          There are disability rights advocates who would disagree – especially with regard to quality of life. In the case of carers and parents for example, the level of social care support in the UK is far higher – especially for adults.

          As a society, we choose the level of support made available to people with disabilities. Parents and siblings end up providing additional care only where the state fails to meet its obligations to a disabled person.

          Neurotypical people have a very difficult time accepting people with conditions like ASD and DS as equals because they are different.

  4. Vote Rep #1

    Meh, it means nothing and if that is the will of the people who voted for them (I would expect Leitrim to be fairly conservative so I would imagine it would be), then that is democracy in action. It has no power and is Leitrim so meh. I would reckon that the view of that guy would be quite popular to people outside of urban areas.

  5. 15 cent

    i want to ask him why he wants to keep the 8th. and i want to ask him why he doesnt want it ‘watered down’ to give abortion rights to rape victims and foetal abnormalities. they can never answer that.

    1. Ivor

      The way she phrased it certainly makes no sense but the availability of abortion when combined with a growing ability to test for the possibility of various biological conditions means that there would be fewer people born with conditions such as autism and Down Syndrome.

      While that might sound good to some, many people with disabilities view those disabilities as being based predominantly on social structures rather than biology. They might compare it to the situation gays and lesbians found themselves in a few decades back.

      None of which makes a whole lot of difference to people with firm opinions on the matter, but might influence people who are undecided and whose sympathy is torn between the pregnant woman and child.

    2. Ivor

      15, the stock answers to those questions are something along the lines of:

      1. The human right to life is viewed as practically absolute. If you accept that the unborn has a right to life, why would the circumstances under which the unborn was conceived make a difference?

      2. Again, he would most likely take the approach of saying that we do not allow for euthenasia in the case of newborns or toddlers with fatal abnormalities, so why have different criteria for the unborn if you accept that it has a right to life.

      People also frequently point out that when some mother’s are told their child has a fatal foetal abnormality, where they choose to continue the pregnancy, the child sometimes survives. So, he might argue, allowing for abortion in the case of FFAs would lead to the deaths of viable humans through misdiagnosis.

      Now you can agree or disagree with these views, and I’d certainly find some aspects of these arguments wanting, but there’s no point in caricaturing a very large portion of the population as redneck refugees from the 1950s who are too thick to do anything other than what the parish priest tells them.

      1. 15 cent

        thanks Ivor .. the stock answers omit something that most anti-abortion arguments tend to leave out .. the human being who’s body is harbouring all this and their emotions, their feelings. id imagine if you were raped, you might not be ok with the idea of rearing a child that is half you half your rapist, and be reminded of the rapist when you look into that kids eyes.

        1. Yeah, Ok

          I’m sorry but I have a huge problem with the fact that abortion in the case of rape and incest has become the accepted middle ground in this debate. From people who are generally anti-choice, for whatever reasons, it is the single most abhorrent fudge of a compromise possible.
          “Don’t kill babies! Except these ones because obvs…” is essentially what people are asked to find acceptable.
          I’m fully pro-choice, and wish people would stop trying to meet in the middle in such a cack-handed way. If someone thinks a foetus is a person, why expect them to see a product of rape or incest as ok to abort? It’s a ridiculous position to take and I actually have more respect for the Youth Defence and Pro Life Campaign nutjobs who have courage in their stupid religious convictions than someone who thinks they’re right to abort some ‘babies’ who are ‘bad’ but not others who aren’t.

          1. Caroline™

            I understand your point, but there is a logic behind it. The reason rape/incest gets some traction is because it transforms the woman from careless sinner to victim. Once her innocence and victim status is in play, it can be put in the balance against the innocence and victim status of the foetus.

          2. Yeah, Ok

            If the argument is to “Love them both”(TM) and stand up for innocent babies there is no logic in arbitrarily qualifying that with a stipulation that a rapist’s baby doesn’t count. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Trying to convince anti-choicers in that way is playing into their hands and expecting them to buy it is insulting even to their questionable intelligence.
            Not every argument has a middle ground and I wish people wouldn’t bend over backwards to find one all the time. Sometimes people are just wrong.

          3. Caroline™

            I don’t think it is bending over backwards. Over the years, at different times and in different places, almost instinctively, people have been prepared to make exceptions with regard to abortion for rape. That’s because the trauma occasioned to a woman in those circumstances is readily understandable. And when people are able to empathise with the trauma caused, they are more willing to allow for an abortion. It’s less understandable that a pregnancy that comes about another way and is still unwanted could also be traumatic, but unless you get people to stand on that line in the first place, you’ll never be able to convince them to move closer to empathising in the broader scenario.

        2. Ivor

          Right. But we don’t allow that either in the case of neonates. The fundamental key to understanding the position of people like the above councillors is that they treat the unborn at 4 weeks the same way they’d treat a newborn at 4 days.

          In general, people wouldn’t feel any less sympathy for a rape victim who was, for example, unaware she was pregnant until she went into labour than a victim who realised she was pregnant early on and had an abortion. The situations are similar and yet only a tiny percentage of people would suggest the state should allow an option of infanticide of the neonate because the mother would be traumatised by the reminder of the rapist.

          While many would look at them and think them cruel or uncaring, those councillors will look at people advocating for the option of abortion but not infanticide in the case of rape as inconsistent or selective. They wouldn’t see it as any less cruel than prohibiting infanticide.

          The typical follow-up to that argument is to debate the differences between different defined stages in human development since most pro-choice people will argue that only people have rights and that the newborn is a person and the foetus (in at least the early stages of pregnancy) is not.

          It’s useful to look at the consequences of various abortion policies but ultimately most of the arguments come back to the question of when life begins (biologically) and the point in development at which humans have an equal right to life under the law. There are other issues (e.g. to what extent is one human obliged to sustain another life where there is a cost to the sustainer) but since those issues don’t come up as often, they are lesser barriers to consensus.

          1. Ivor

            Yeah Okay, people like to think that they are rational. Most of the time, people have a gut reaction (itself a reflection of their personal history) and then rationalise it.

            Focusing on rape or incest may not make logical sense but most people will have a gut reaction to the question of rape victims having access to abortions whereby they feel that it could not be right to deny anything to rape victim.

            Ask a thousand people if they believe in capital punishment and most will say no. Ask them justification and they’ll probably talk about the right to life and the state not having a right to remove it. If you’d asked the same people if they think that the state should introduce capital punishment in the case of serial paedophiles where the victims have requested execution and you’ll get a far larger proportion of people in favour of capital punishment.

            Framing affects how people answer questions. That’s why campaigns – whose purpose is to win the vote and not necessarily the argument – frequently focus on peripheral issues that get an emotional reaction. For a recent example, see Credit.

  6. Rob_G

    Good for them.

    – thankfully, we don’t derogate any of these decisions to the county councils.

    Between this and SF’s anti-fluoride crusade, I have all-but-lost faith in anything positive or useful coming from local govt

  7. Junkface

    Big Surprise. Backwoods redneck Catholic politician from Irelands depressed suicide capital is anti abortion. Hopefully most of the voters who finally get their say in Dublin alone will outnumber the religious rednecks out in the shticks

  8. Otis Blue

    Councillors pass utterly meaningless motions at every meeting. It’s all part of the game. It allows them to create the impression that they’re useful. Meanwhile the officials who should be held to account carry on regardless.

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