Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Pro-life Rally, Leinster House, 5pm today (Wednesday 1st May)
I haven't had a chance to read the legislation carefully so haven't checked the hidden language. But clearly a line has been crossed with abortion for suicide, irrespective of the doctors and and panels put in place. From a pro-choice perspective this is clearly a foot in the door. And never mind who hates the analogy, but that's exactly how the Nazis operated. You cross a line and then the line moves and move it will.
The panels are clearly designed to appease moderately pro-life (whatever that means) politicians who presume that in practice no one will get an abortion by this means. Firstly because the procedure will be too complex and women will prefer the relative ease and anonymity of going to England. Secondly because pro-life doctors or psychiatrists will be able to scupper the scheme by saying "no" at the panel stage. Thus you satisfy the X-case judgment and the ECHR in theory but really nothing changes.
The problem with this argument is that you will have conceded the prinicple and when the practice doesn't work from the pro-choice perspective, the pressure, including judicial pressure, will begin again.
Let's look at the second issue, pro-life doctors on the panels. Well firstly, some will refuse to serve on the basis that they won't facilitate abortion. If they adopt that approach then only pro-choice doctors will be on the panel. Alternatively they agree to serve with a view to vetoing abortions. But will they be allowed? On United States juries, where there is a trial for a capital crime which could attract a death sentence, you will not be allowed to serve if you oppose the death penalty. US juries always comprise supporters of the death penalty. I suspect the same approach will be taken here with abortion panels.
While there are many fine practitioners, the medical profession across the world has collapsed in the face of demands for abortion. And remember, midwives here often take their lead from the Royal College in England.
The conscientious objection clause is relatively weak. Institutions aren't protected. Medical practitioners have some protection, but are still expected to provide referrals. There is no protection for administrative or ancilliary staff. There is no clear protection for management along the lines of the recent Scottish judgment.
That's all I've had time to glean for the moment.