Thursday, January 10, 2013

Please Pray for Ireland

I know that people from other countries read this blog. Right now I appeal to them to pray for this country.

They may not realize the forces that are being mustered against human life in Ireland right now. The Irish parliament has been holding three days of hearings into the issue of abortion. Today was the last day of the hearings, and it was the turn of the churches and various interest groups (such as Atheist Ireland and the ubiquitous Michael Nugent) to make submissions. As far as I can see, only the Catholic Church took a strong line in favour of the defence of life.

The cry from the supporters of abortion ("limited" abortion, as they insist) is that there is no reason to believe that the floodgates will open if the Irish government legislates on the basis of a Supreme Court judgement twenty years ago, which allowed for abortion when there was a risk of suicide to the mother. As David Quinn pointed out recently, arbotion is still technically illegal in Britain, except in cases where doctors certify there is a danger to the mental or physical health of the mother. This loophole was wide enough to allow for almost two hundred thousand abortions in England and Wales in 2011.

Newspaper opinion pieces have been telling us that we need to move beyond a polemical debate and take a more nuanced view-- as though the principle at stake was not a very simple and a very decisive one.

All the indications are that the Irish government is going to legislate for abortion very soon. A poll released today claims (rather implausibly) that two-thirds of Irish people are in favour of laws allowing abortion in some cases. I doubt those figures very much, but there is no doubt that a huge swathe of the Irish people have been won over to the pro-abortion cause.

As I've been typing this, my father has been watching a current affairs programme on which two issues have been covered; the abortion hearings, and a case in which our High Court has ruled (very reluctantly, to go by the tone of the judgement) against a woman with a degenerative disease who seeks the right to an assisted suicide.

The assisted suicide segment included a contribution from the previously-mentioned Michael Nugent, who had himself sought the right to help end his own wife's life (as it happened she died naturally). As far as I could see, his role as chairman of Atheist Ireland was not mentioned. A strange omission.

Michael Nugent, in response to the suggestion that legalised euthanasia might make the State and families view the lives of old and sick people as a burden, claimed that such an attitude could exist already anyway. Well, it will certainly be given a boost if the legal impediment to bumping them off (or guilt-tripping them into having themselves bumped off) is removed.

The first duty of the State is to protect the lives of its citizens. Even Thomas Hobbes believed that a State which ceases to achieve this has lost its justification.

Please pray for Ireland. We need your prayers.

(P.S.: Even though I vehemently disagree with almost everything Michael Nugent says and writes, I should acknowledge that he is at least always polite and reasoned in his tone, which is very refreshing.)

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