Republicanism, Sovereignty and the Right to Life

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Having given Ireland, her first and last colony invasion, plunder, pillage, famine, cultural subjugation and partition, our colonial masters in their boundless generosity now will pay to facilitate the killing of our children. In total violation of whatever pathetic bit of sovereignty is afforded to subjects of the crown here in the six counties, who haven’t the protection of a referendum, the English parliament has legislated to pay for women from this statlet to have abortions on “the mainland”. The decision was passed on the very same day of a court ruling that abortion provision is a devolved issue. It is a measure of the contempt with which we are regarded in Westminster. And it seems that we should, as in the past, tip the forelock and be grateful.

Rupa Huq MP, Cat Smith MP, Ruairi Rowan of FPA, Grainne Teggart of Amnesty, Sharon Hodgson MP, and Owen Smith MP in Belfast

A labour party delegation visited local pro-abortion advocacy groups last week to offer help and support to bring we backward Paddies into the bright new world they enjoy, where an abortion takes place every three minutes, one in five pregnancies are deliberately ended, and 90% of those with Down’s syndrome are “terminated”. These policies have cost the NHS 0.6 billion pounds, yes that’s 600,000,000 in the last decade, almost all of which was paid to private providers.

And where are the Republican voices protesting at this shameful denial of self-determination? Obediently silent, that’s where. Of course New Republicanism actively welcomes this. Their zeal for abortion means they can countenance even such a blatant insult to their precious Executive without protest. There are many who historically have voted for SF who are deeply uncomfortable with their position on this issue. But the Party is paramount, dissent is not tolerated, no votes of conscience will be allowed. It’s a far cry from the republicanism I was reared with.

Of course, this is not about the health and safety of women. Abortions are legally and appropriately carried out in every hospital in the land, when required, as part of appropriate medical care for women.

The laws on this island have historically been based on a particular vision of the common good, which places a high value on personal freedom, while limiting the deliberate ending of innocent human life. Protecting both women and their unborn children as far as humanly possible is not backward or regressive, but compassionate, ethical and hopeful. In the six counties, the lack of abortion on demand has saved the lives of 100,000 people. These are our friends, colleagues, family members, neighbours. It is a dangerous fallacy to measure rights or progress by our ability to end the lives of our unborn children. Choice must always balance individual autonomy with the rights of others.

The arbitrary selection of who is worthy of life, the reduction of the preborn child to offal, sex-selective foeticide, the weeding out of those who may have disabilities, or are “chromosomally challenged”, this, it seems is the ethos which should prevail when Ireland takes its place among the nations of the earth, and Robert Emmett’s epitaph can be written.

What is the point of having national self-determination, if we discard the values which have shaped us as a nation and as a people, and follow slavishly in the ways of the coloniser? Was this worth one life, not to mention the thousands who have given everything?

Surely the essence of republicanism should be to protect human dignity by whatever means are necessary. This obviously requires change to the current social order, but progressive change, not the culture of death. Irish women and men deserve better.

Our vision and objective should be to cherish all of the children of the nation equally, according to our own genius and traditions. We should not be ashamed of what our people suffered so much for. And if political republicanism moves away from this, then it leaves many of us behind.

Anne McCloskey

About the Author:

Dr Anne McCloskey is a GP based in Derry. "If we have an idea that we need to 'cherish all the children of the nation equally' then that is what it should actually mean."
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