An Taoiseach: Don't make telling the truth about abortion (in Ireland) a revolutionary act
The Times newspaper recently did a "sting" on two crisis pregnancy centres in Dublin which actually tell women the truth about abortion - that, abortion harms women and kills an unborn child.
A lot of noise was made by the media, but, their overwrought moral indignation wasn't the end of the story.
Unfortunately, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, also began making ominous pronouncements, saying that it [telling the truth], "made him sick to the pit of his stomach." And, further in the same Times report, he was quoted as saying that he wants to, "see these agencies shut down".
The ostensible reason for all of this media-driven furore is that these centres have somehow been lying to women. But, that is a patently FALSE claim.
The report alleged that the centres were telling falsehoods about the medical and psychological sequelae of abortion. The report also insinuates that women, who seek abortion, should be kept ignorant of what abortion actually does to an unborn child.
Such attacks on organisations, like Ask Majella and Gianna Care, by the media and by the Minister for Health, are repellent for two main reasons.
First, by attacking what these organisation have said to expectant mothers in crisis, the Minister for Health is actually arguing against medical and scientific fact - which contradicts everything a Minister for Health ought to be doing and saying, especially if he has the best interest, medically-speaking, of these women, at heart.
And, second, this is also an attack on democracy, which is based on the dissemination of a variety of opposing ideas. It's as if the Minister, the media, and the abortion lobby simply can't tolerate the idea that there might be another view on this issue which is different to theirs.
But, actually, it's not clear what the Minister is objecting to on a factual plane, or, if he simply is letting politics cloud his view.
So, let's examine a couple of the most salient issues at-play here.
The medical issue which seems to get the most airtime is breast cancer. These crisis pregnancy centres say there is a link between abortion and breast cancer.
And, in fact, many studies have shown a positive link between the incidence of abortion and breast cancer. Full-stop.
In 2015, the American College of Pediatricians released a statement saying that their own study showed an increased incidence of breast cancer for women who had induced abortions prior to 32 weeks gestation, and, or a full-term delivery.
It is also true - just as counsellors from these organisations state - that, in addition to the potential for physical sequelae, there is also the potential for severe psychological sequelae, following an abortion. And, again, the evidence is there to prove it.
A 13-year study, published in the European Journal of Public Health in 2005, by Gissler et al., found that the suicide rate among women who had abortions was six times higher than that of women who had given birth.
Naturally, one takes no joy in pointing out the potential harm of abortion to women, but what would the Minister rather happen? That women remain uninformed and ignorant of the potential harm which can come their way by obtaining an abortion?
Or, perhaps, what the Minister objects to is the showing of images or videos of what abortion actually does to an unborn baby? Or, perhaps, it is the ultrasound which the Minister objects to, showing the unborn human life, growing within the mother?
So, here is the nub of the matter: why should the Minister wish to "protect" modern women from the truth about abortion? Does he believe that women, who are considering abortion, are somehow incapable of handling different points of view?
Saying that, we should pay close attention to what the Minister actually says about the information presented to women by life-affirming crisis pregnancy centres. Here is what he told reporters on 6 April: "It’s not even false or misleading, it’s just wrong and disgusting so-called information being presented to women in extremely vulnerable situations."
Did you catch that? In the first phrase, he acknowledges that the information is neither false nor misleading! Rather than object to the factual aspect of the information, he is really objecting to the circumstances of its delivery.
This is truly incredible!
What we are essentially being told is that he believes that abortion should be "ring-fenced" from every other issue in our democracy, so that society is excluded from the conversation about abortion and, crucially, about the protection of the rights of the unborn child.
This kind of totalitarianism has no place in a free society.
Citizens must be free to oppose the decisions of other citizens, especially when those decisions threaten the lives of other people.
Therefore, the Taoiseach must "rein in" his Minister for Health on such matters. The truth in these cases is not being violated, so the real issue at stake is freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. These issues are NOT the remit of the Minister for Health, or any Minister, for that matter.
BUT, these principles must be protected from those, who, for momentary political gain, would seek to force complete subservience to a radical, abortion-minded ideology.
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Call on Taoiseach to 'rein in' Health Minister Simon Harris on pro-life crisis pregnancy centres