Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Uncaring Government and Fatal Foetal Abnormality

From my understanding of Enda Kenny's discussion about the views of the Attorney General yesterday I have come to deduce that the Attorney General, according to Enda Kenny, is infallible. Mr President, politicians, Council of State, Justices of the Supreme Court etc., you may all go home. Advice of other legal experts and even the previous AG be damned. According to the Taoiseach the Attorney General is the sole arbiter of what is constitutional or unconstitutional. Enda Kenny is a bit of Joseph Smith character. I wouldn't be surprised were I to learn that Kenny is in fact looking at the Attorney General's advice through a peep stone in a hat. Such is his secrecy surrounding what the AG has actually said.

The Attorney General is just one person, just one mind and people can get things wrong. Why does the views of the current Attorney General differ from the views of the previous AG. People can get things wrong and refusing to allow a Bill to go through to committee stage on the advice of just one person does not seem a sensible move to me.

Fine Gael, as the major party in government, are indeed allowed to pull the strings. Usually though there is some give and take amongst government parties. However the life time of the current government shows Labour are quite happy to let their opinions be mowed over time and time again. Labour argue that as junior party in the coalition there is nothing they can do. Clare Daly's Bill may or may not have been constitutional but that's what the Houses of the Oireachtas are for. They are there to debate and discuss and amend and change and send to the next stage for it all to happen all over again until it is constitutional or until the government gain the courage to call for a referendum to Repeal the Eight Amendment. When polled 85% of the population are in favour of termination in the case of Fatal Foetal Abnormalities, yesterday 88% of our elected representatives voted against. We have to ask ourselves the question: who are they really representing?

This issue is too serious to kicked up to the next government. Somewhere in Ireland, sometime soon yet another couple is going to be given that horrendous diagnosis. Another couple will be told that their much loved and much wanted baby is "incompatible with life". That couple are going to be devastated. They will seek a second opinion, and a third, and a fourth and maybe even a fifth and sixth. They will keep going under all the stress and grief and pressure until they finally know. At that point the couple has a choice, to continue on with the pregnancy if they so choose, or if not they will have no other option but to travel. Either choice will bring more stress and grief and pressure. There is no easy option here, there is only the best choice that couple can make for themselves and their family. Such couples formed the support group Termination for Medical Reasons (@TFMRIRE). They spoke to the government and to the UN. The government came, they listened and they did nothing. Every mealy mouthed politician says they understand and have compassion with their plight. They don't, because if they did they wouldn't see yet more families be put in the same situation. A tragic situation that most of us wouldn't wish on our own enemies, not even those politicians who vote against the chance that cases of abortion in Fatal Foetal Abnormality be legislated for.

To all those brave people in TFMR Ireland, I salute you and cannot thank you enough for the work you've been doing. To all those couples who will receive this diagnosis in future, I'm sorry and I am so ashamed of my government.