Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Run for cover, its a debate on abortion!
I've been quiet reluctant to throw my tuppence worth into the ring on the abortion debate thats spread like a rash across the Irish blogsphere. Unlike my Saintly colleague I do have strong views on the topic, but much of what I feel has been stated more eloquantly elsewhere. However as this blog has been referred to as an "umpire", I thought it would be remiss not to post an opposing view to The Saint. Simply put, I don't believe abortion should be legalised in Ireland. There are many layers to the debate and they have been addressed elsewhere, so I won't repeat them here. The fundamental issue, in my humble opinion, in this debate is when does human life begin? All other arguments are trumped by this as it involves our most basic right as a human, the right to life. This may be moralistic, but our law is based primarily on what is morally right and wrong. Granting somebody the 'status' of human being based on its ability to survive on its own is flawed and highly unsatisfactory. The new born baby will not survive on its own. Nor will somebody who is severely mentally handicapped. Yet nobody would deny that such persons are human beings. How about the level of dependence on the mother involved? Does somebody on a life support machine cease to be a human being for the duration they are on the life support machine? I believe that the simplest and most satisfying answer to that question is the life begins at the moment of fertilisation, conception. Thus the foetus growing in its mothers womb is an innocent human being. I, like many others, believe this to be the fundamental and pivitol issue in the debate. Once a human being exists, that human has a fundamental right to life, and that right is only matched by the right to life of other human beings. It is superior to all other rights and non-negotiable. Aud puts the point succinctly when she says "Refusal to extend the most basic of all human rights, the right to life, to unborn human beings, makes the ubiquitous human rights language that we reference so many of our dilemmas to, negotiable and wholly dependent on social/cultural mores. " I've read other blogs talking about rights of the mother, be they the right to choose, 'reproductive' rights, 'right to privacy and bodily integrity' etc. Whilst there is little doubt that these rights exist , surely they are not absolute and the right to life is superior to all such rights? I would echo the sentiments of Michael over at disillusioned lefty, where points out that, if the woman has freely entered into actions that can result in pregnancy then she should accept the responsibilities that arise when pregnancy occurs. In the instance of rape the woman of course has not freely entered into the actions which resulted in pregnancy. As a male I can't begin to put myself in the shoes of a woman in that position. However, that foetus is still a 100% innocent human being, with the same fundamental rights as every other human. Finally, The Irish State has a duty to protect the right to life of all the natural persons living on this Island, whether they be a citizen or not. This duty exists regardless of how dependent one person is on another, or the circumstances of that persons conception. Similarly every human being has the duty to respect the right to life of all other human beings. Legalising the murder of human beings, whether they be in the womb or not, is wholly inconsistent with these duties.