Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Submission to the so-called “People's Assembly”

1. Ireland has a People's Assembly, it is called Dail Eireann. Any effort to create a parliament outside the houses of the Oireachtais is a subversion of of our democracy and of our republic. This gathering, appointed in secrecy and darkness by the government, is not elected, contains no member has sought a mandate from the people or has been vetted in an open, honest election. It therefore represents nobody, has less moral authority greater than a gathering of chance citizens in a public house. It is utterly shocking that a justice of the Supreme Court would lend her name to this travesty or, as as been reported, indicate that some classes or groups of citizens are not represented there. Nobody is represented by an appointed quasi parliament. The proper approach of any Irish citizen to this subversion is resistance in whatever form possible. No recommendation from this tainted source can have the slightest legitimacy.

2. The Eight Amendment is, are as all amendments to it, an integral part of Bunreacht Na h-Eireann, our constitution. The pro Life amendment is not any less legitimately part of the constitution than any other article the document contains. The argument that since it dates from 1983 and therefore many living have never had a vote on it, is a childish logic that holds the entire constitution to be a cruel imposition and limit on our activities. The youngest a possible voter who voted on the original document in 1937 would now be now is 110. Since there are no surviving voters from 1937 is every part of the constitution to be shredded on this demented logic?

3. The Eight Amendment is a radically humane, modern and inclusive clause in that it recognises the humanity and rights of all, even the weakest and most vulnerable infants. 40.3.3 is truly the life equality clause.

4. Article 40.3.3. makes it impossible for the Dail to strip the unborn of the most basic of rights, the right to life. No TD, no minister gets the right to decide who is human enough to be born and who is not so human. In Ireland the glory of our constitution is all babies are human and equal in the eyes of the law, cherished equally. The job of a constitution is to protect us from the government, 40.3.3 completed that protection. Without this clause it any government can barter the lives of infants for support. Legislation is the whim of politicians, rights are guaranteed by the constitution. Who would have their right to life guaranteed by the word of Kenny, Martin, Howlin or Adams?

5. The right we all have to life is a right not to have others take our lives. We have this human right from conception to natural death. Our humanity and the rights we have because we are human are not dependent on our health, the length we will live, our age, size, beauty, talents or geographical position. No one is more or less human at forty than the were at conception, at fifteen than at seven months gestation. Humanity, our personhood is a continuum.

6. Abortion has only one purpose: the killing of a human infant. It is never a therapeutic intervention, never required to save the life of the mother and it is not health care. The silly mantra “Safe Legal and Rare” has been shown to be the cruellest of lies. Abortion is never safe for the infant, it is always lethal, always fatal, always unspeakably cruel. To pretend that abortion is “compassionate” is to pervert the meaning of compassion and make language meaningless.

7. The term “fatal foetal abnormality” is the most disgusting piece of dehumanising language invented in over sixty years. It is not a medical diagnosis but a term used to strip babies with life limiting conditions of their humanity and their right to life, however short that life might be. We do not own our children, we are not granted or given the power of life and death over them. To suggest that parents have the right to have an sick infant killed is to revert to the Roman practise of exposure of infants which so horrified our Celtic ancestors. Families that have been given a diagnosis of a life limiting condition deserve far better than abortion. Their child has a right to far better medical care than dismemberment and painful death merely for being ill.

8. Rape is a heinous, horrible crime, robbing victims of volition, of their very sense of self. Victims of this violence need the help of an entire community to rebuild their shattered life. Our anger at the wrong done to the victim by an attacker is limited by law. Where convictions are gained the attacker is sentenced to jail, not death or dismemberment. If a the woman becomes pregnant the child should not have the fathers crime visited on her head nor receive a punishment worse than that which we would visit on the criminal. Abortion will not undo the rape but visits another act, of fatal violence on the suffering woman. The lady at the centre of the C Case, 12 at the time of her pregnancy, is on public record that bad as the rape was, the abortion was worse. Her voice needs to be heard.

9. Many jurisdictions to which Irish people have air travel access have quite different laws to Ireland. This does not mean that our laws should to be the same as anywhere to which one can fly. On abortion that would not leave us with the British model but the even worse Canadian regime. Travel is not an argument for stripping our constitution of the equal right to life enshrined in Article 40.3.3. It is utterly inconsistent to celebrate the Rebellion of 1916 but insist that we cannot have separate laws and legal culture in 2016.

10. Abortion, the deliberate killing of an unborn child, is presented as a clean, quick fix to the messy problems of human life. Like all simple solution to complex problems it is wrong. Messy human problems do not have clean fixes but the least perfect of all outcomes is one that kills an infant just because we can.

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