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Calm down, dears, and have a rational debate on abortion - The Irish Times - Fri, Dec 21, 2012

Meanwhile, Rónán Mullen was ramping up the emotional pressure in the Seanad. He warned his colleagues not to fall into "double-think" by condemning the school shootings in Connecticut while supporting the introduction of a new legal framework for abortion here. He urged Senators not to "forget a whole category of children in our own country".

Drawing a moral equivalence between the murder of a class of six-year-olds and the termination of a pregnancy which is threatening the mother's life is repugnant on so many levels: the absolutist logic; the casual rhetorical opportunism; the blatant disrespect for grieving families.

Curiously, there is a coldness, a heartlessness, that often accompanies such emotive arguments. We also saw it when John Larkin - in remarks made before he became the North's Attorney General -- said that destroying a highly disabled foetus in the womb was akin to "putting a bullet in the back of the head of the child two days after it's born".

When it comes to arguing the anti-abortion case, the frequent assumption is that the end justifies the means, no matter how aggressive, inflammatory and distasteful those means appear to be.

Whatever their beliefs, there is an onus on political and religious leaders to use temperate, considered language, in accordance with the dignity of their public role. They have a greater responsibility than the rest of us to rise above the heat of the immediate situation.


The bishops and their like are not simply giving vent to heartfelt emotion. In that sense, this is not wild talk at all. Their statements are intentionally, and strategically, freighted with fear and hostility, aimed at evoking an emotional, rather than an intellectual, political reaction.

They also serve to perpetuate still further the deep sense of guilt around this issue, so that many people feel they are invoking something evil simply by uttering the word "abortion". In short, they are continuing their attempt to frighten and shame us, in a visceral manner, rather than rationally persuade us.

But the intensification of their rhetoric in recent days may be telling. The use of excessively emotive language is often the hallmark of a group that knows it is losing the battle, resorting instead to increasingly hysterical claims. The position they cling to is archaic, abstruse and culpably inhumane. No amount of disingenuous emotional incontinence can disguise that.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 09:46:06 AM EST
You can only hope so, but I fear that Ireland's elites are wholly in the grip of the irrational urge to genuflect to some bloke in a scarlet dress, and progress in this regard will be glacial at best

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 10:15:57 AM EST
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