Tag Archives: Emer O’Toole

Screen-Shot-2016-06-02-at-15.57.04

Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking incorrectly about the 8th amendment in the Dáil earlier this month

Emer O’Toole, in today’s Irish Times, writes:

Ireland’s abortion regime is a kind of a fiction. It can only exist if its proponents resolutely refuse to see, overwriting fact with fairy stories.

Our laws effectively make the “unborn” a citizen from the moment of implantation, thus requiring an act of creativity to furnish the embryo with thoughts and feelings, or perhaps, dependent on one’s religious proclivities, an ideologically convenient soul.

Our fictions proclaim Ireland abortion free, when it has approximately the same abortion rates as other EU countries. We just like to torture the women a bit first: for moral reasons, you understand.

…We can expect of Kenny’s convention, in short, the same kind of “balance” we have come to expect of our national broadcaster: the kind that considers the issue of whether women should have human rights to have two equally reasonable sides; the kind that gives serious consideration to people who actively campaign to subject women to cruel and degrading treatment and calls this – incredibly – “fairness”.

This impartiality is also a fiction.

Emer O’Toole: What can we expect of Enda Kenny’s abortion convention? (Irish Times)

Previously: ‘The People Decided To Keep That Reference In The Constitution’

90257859

Pro Choice supporter in Dublin in 2012

According to the whichcandidate.ie election site, of the 44 elected Fianna Fáil TDs, only two – Lisa Chambers and Jim O’Callaghan – favour expanding access to abortion; of 50 Fine Gael TDs, only Kate O’Connell and Paschal Donohoe favour more liberal laws.

To put those figures in context: while 87% of the general population favour expanding access to abortion, only 4.5% of Fianna Fáil TDs and 4% of Fine Gael TDs do.

… I agree that the campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment isn’t going to lie down under a conservative coalition. I too believe that we can put a referendum on this government’s agenda.

But if our referendum is begrudged to us by overwhelmingly anti-choice politicians, are these really the people we want to preside over it?

Leo Varadkar, minister for health under the outgoing government, regarded by many as a future Fine Gael leader, has publicly stated that while the current legislation may be too restrictive, he wants to keep a “pro-life” amendment in the constitution.

After all our work, can Ireland’s feminist movement risk letting Fine Fáil scheme to replace the eighth with another constitutional amendment? To offer – masquerading as middle ground – not the opportunity to repeal the eighth but to amend it?

Ireland’s election result is no stepping stone to abortion rights. It’s a roadblock (Emer O’Toole, The Guardian)

Laura Hutton/Rollingnews

Screen-Shot-2012-11-17-at-17.11.18

Emer O’Toole, in The Guardian, writes:

“This year, a suicidal teenage victim of rape and torture (Miss Y) was forced to carry her pregnancy to viability and deliver by C-section. And now we have a clinically dead woman being ventilated and fed for the sake of an insentient foetus, while her heartbroken family takes legal action in order to mourn her.”

“But we mustn’t get emotional. There’s no political appetite for another abortion debate. Kenny has already dealt with this issue. The passing of the protection of life during pregnancy bill last year was very difficult for him and his party. He deserves a pat on the back for legislating at all.”

“If you must discuss this case, do so cooly: in terms, perhaps, of its potential effects on the career prospects of male politicians? Is the ambitious Leo Varadkar, the health minister, using this case opportunistically? What might it mean for the future leadership of Fine Gael? That’s what matters here. Women’s bodies, women’s lives, women’s rights: those are messy, incendiary topics, best avoided.”

“However, you can’t just say “no comment” if you’re the taoiseach. It might look cold. “And so, Kenny, while carefully strapping his knees to the legs of a chair lest they betray some kind of humanity, recommends a careful measure of empathy: “Let anybody put themselves in the position of this family,” he says. And I can’t help but wonder if he can countenance this kind of empathy because it allows him a male subject position.”

“Let anybody put themselves in the position of this family. Then let anybody put themselves in the position of Savita Halappanavar, in pain, miscarrying, at increased risk of septicaemia, denied an abortion. Or of Miss Y, raped, seeking asylum in a country that bureaucratically continues her torture. Or of a woman told her foetus has a fatal abnormality but that she must continue to carry it. Or of a terrified teenage girl waiting for the abortifacient pills she ordered from some dodgy website. Or of a mother-of-two, going through a marriage breakup, who finds she is pregnant. Or of any of the women who contact Mara Clarke’s Abortion Support Network, asking for help to cross the Irish channel, each with their stories, each with their reasons.”

“Women’s experiences are routinely erased from Irish discourse on abortion. Our government and media won’t engage with the reality of living in a body that gets pregnant. When others do, they are dismissed as irrational, emotive: feminine.”

“Objectivity, historian Helen Graham once said, is not an equidistant position between any two points. It is right to be angry and upset in the face of injustice. 2014 has shown us the truth about the contempt for women underlying Kenny’s new legislation.”

“Be angry that a dead woman’s body is being used as an incubator. Be upset that Miss Y was forced to carry her rapist’s child to 24 weeks. These are women’s bodies. These are women’s lives. And that is what matters here.”

A brain-dead Irish woman’s body is being used as an incubator. Be angry (Emer O’Toole, The Guardian)

Previously: How Soon Is Now

‘The Role Of The State Is To Ease The Burden Of People, Not To Add To It’

Pic: Amplifyyourvoice.org