A long time ago, while living in England’s metropolis as an Irish immigrant, I got a phone call from an old school acquaintance. It transpired that Paul had failed to take precautions when fumbling about with his girlfriend, Mandy, and was now telling me she was pregnant.
Funny thing is, my girlfriend and I had seen them only the Christmas before. We had discussed the difficulty of obtaining contraceptives in Ireland at that time, but gave them a few tips on how to get them. Even how to get the morning-after-pill should it ever become necessary.
However, they piously assured us they were not going to have sex until after their big white wedding. “Saving themselves” was the term employed, I think.
Now Paul was on the other end of the phone asking us to us organise an abortion for them.
So, my girlfriend and I – atheists both, who had rejected the Catholic values Paul and Mandy apparently held so dear– found ourselves doing something for them we had ensured we would never have to do for ourselves: phone up an abortion clinic. And all because of their stupidity and hypocrisy.
Over they came, and did the deed. Again we advised them about contraceptives and again we got the same response – as though we were the “immoral” ones. What "happened" to them was a "one-off".
So they went home and we thought no more about it, other than to reflect on the irony of it all. In avoiding contraceptives – but not sex, of course – surely they had committed a greater evil (by their criteria) by plumping for abortion instead? A tough lesson for them, we thought.
Later that week, we were talking to Gary who lived in the flat upstairs. “I heard your mates at it like rabbits in the bathroom”, he said, “you Irish like your bit of the other, don’t you? Eh? Eh?”. “No”, we thought, “Gary’s a shit-stirrer, isn’t he? That can't be true. Can it?"
A couple of months later the phone rang again. You guessed it: Good old pure-as-the-driven-snow Paul and Mandy looking for another abortion.
“Here’s the number”, we replied.
The above is a true story, and I tell it because I want to put to you my own personal feelings on the subject of abortion – limited as they are by the fact that I am a male. Namely:
I don’t see it as an alternative to contraception. Contraceptives are readily available now even in Ireland. So if there was an excuse for stupid people like Paul and Mandy in the Eighties, there is none now.
However, there will always be crisis pregnancies for all sorts of reasons. And ironically, the lack of termination facilities in Ireland means that those who seek abortions will, as a result, do so at a later stage of pregnancy abroad.
Crisis pregnancies will always exist. Changed circumstances, foetal anomaly, complications in pregnancy, incest or rape. And who, but who, has the right to insist that a raped woman be forced to have a rapist’s baby?
An organisation called Make Noise for Free Choice is campaigning to make the right to choice available to women throughout Europe.
You can sign their online petition at
MAKE NOISE FOR FREE CHOICE
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