It’s rare in any country to see someone publicly commit career suicide in service of someone else, but it happened July 1 in the Irish Parliament. Cabinet minister Lucinda Creighton, age 33, spoke for 27 minutes about why she would vote against her own government’s ironically named Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. It would clarify the circumstances under which a pregnancy in Ireland may be medically terminated. Though under threat of expulsion from her own leader, Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Creighton delivered a sturdy, principled analysis worthy of William Wiberforce of why the proposed law is fundamentally immoral. She confirmed this week she will resign as European Affairs minister. Indeed her political career, hitherto promising, is effectively finished.
Opening a floodgate
Ireland is still a remarkably pro-life country, certainly by European standards; most people still oppose abortion on demand, and women who want them – some 4,000 a year – must still go to Britain. The new bill (which is expected soon to become law) will provide more precise definitions of life-saving medical necessity. Creighton applauded that. She objected, however, to including a threat of suicide as a permitted medical ground. This, she argued, was unnecessary, bad psychiatry and a likely floodgate – a point on which she said 113 Irish psychiatrists had agreed.
Polls this past winter showed that most Irish citizens, though opposed to abortion for convenience, approve of abortion for medical necessity. Just how elastic that term can be was shown in Canada, where a Catholic prime minister and a Catholic justice minister assured Parliament in 1969 that hospital medical committees would ensure that abortion would remain rare, and within four years there was virtual abortion on demand. Today Canada has legal abortion for any reason up to the moment of completed birth – a fact of which most Canadians (as well as MP Creighton in Ireland) are unaware.
Progressive group think’
The irony of what Creighton calls “progressive group think” is that it is unthinking and illiberal. “The sad reality, as we look around the globe at how women’s rights are advocated, promoted and defended,” she told the assembly, “is that abortion is in fact, often a tool for the oppression of women. Look at China, India, Korea and indeed some parts of Europe and the United States. The societal preference for boys over girls has led to the obliteration of tens of millions of baby girls who were simply never born.
“It would be bizarre if we as legislators did not ask the obvious question: What is the net difference between such screening followed by intentional gender-based abortion, and the intentional killing of that baby after delivery? The answer is of course none.
“The net effect is exactly the same, which is to say that an innocent baby is simply wiped out.”