(13th March 2015)
The Government Parties are running amok, driven by every transient ideological wind that blows. Apart from the gallant Deputies who opposed abortion, the Opposition is no better. That includes the Fianna Fail leadership, Sinn Fein and many Independents. How did we get such a nondescript collection in the Dail whose values are so unrepresentative of the Irish People?
Of course, Fine Gael to a man and Miceal Martin promised in writing, on the eve of the last General Election, that they would never support abortion and would protect human embryos from deliberate destruction. The majority of Fine Gael and Deputy Miceal Martin broke their solemn promises and supported the abortion legislation in July 2013. Now the Government’s destructive course is accelerating.
To help pass the same-sex “marriage” referendum, they are rushing through the Child and Family Relationships Bill 2015. Apart from the medley of couples of varying genders and marital status to whom children can be legally given for adoption, it also deals with assisted human reproduction (IVF) and is full of references to donor sperm, ova and embryos. While the Bill insists on donor registration for offspring over 18 to access, nowhere does it mention the right to life of the human embryos. The Italian Model forbids deliberate destruction and freezing of embryos.
Our Minister for Health, Deputy Leo Varadkar announced his own and the Cabinet’s intention of legalising surrogacy, despite his acknowledgement of the many ethical problems involved. Surrogacies are so costly that generally to ensure a “perfect baby”, many embryos are produced and checked for various health conditions. Embryos that fail the tests or are surplus to requirements are routinely destroyed. As embryos are human beings, fully developed for that stage of their lives, it is totally wrong to deliberately destroy them.
The Labour Party at its Annual Conference (1st March) voted for the removal of the Eight Amendment and that it would be essential policy for any Coalition it joined. The Minister for Health saw nothing wrong with the Daly Bill’s advocacy of aborting babies with so-called “lethal defects” – handicapped babies.
What is the Solution?
Short of a Pauline conversion, this Government will remain perverse. Deputies should be pressurised at every juncture making every effort to limit the damage they are causing in many areas of ethics and culture. When the next election comes it is incumbent on all of us to make our electoral choices carefully. If we all try hard enough, in the end, we must win and democracy must prevail.
Notes: Surrogacy and donor gametes are the means by which same-sex couples produce babies of whom only one at best can be a biological parent. 13 European countries prohibit surrogacy completely, including France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain. There is no legislation on it in 9 other countries, including Ireland. It is legal in Holland, Hungary, UK and some countries in Eastern Europe.