You may remember in June when I posted about a U.N. committee on human rights and their recommendations to Ireland to hold a referendum and change its stringent abortion laws. These laws, to remind you, allow for abortion only in cases where the fetus endangers the life of the pregnant woman.
Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny made some vague statements at a Fine Gael think-in regarding the 8th amendment. He says that if Fine Gael is re-elected, he doesn’t know if they will actually hold the referendum, of course being sure to add that he does not “favour abortion on demand.” Okay, first of all I need to point out the phrasing he chooses to use: “on demand.” Seriously?! An abortion is a medical procedure, the legalization of which is necessary for women’s health and equality, not some cable package extension. This kind of rhetoric makes it sound like if abortions are made more accessible then women will be just dropping by clinics in the same way they would stop by the store on the way home.
Anyway, our friend Enda goes on to say that he’s not going to abolish the 8th amendment without having something to replace it and that he’s open to listening to suggestions at that replacement might be. Pretty wishy-washy, especially coming right after he says he personally doesn’t agree with abortion. He might as well say, “we’re not holding the referendum, because abortion is evil, but I can’t say that, because then people will get mad, so I’ll just say ‘we’ll see.’” Basically a classic political move, reassuring the public that’s on his side while quietly dismissing the others at the same time he’s saying he’s open to hearing what they suggest. However, it seems that the Fine Gael party is relatively divided on the issue, so we’ll see what the upcoming general election manifesto will say.