Wednesday, 14 November 2012

An open letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Dear Mr Kenny,
You stated in a recent interview that you are personally against abortion and you said the following: “I think that this issue [abortion] is not of priority for government now.” Well Mr Kenny – you were not elected for your personally held beliefs or opinions. You were elected to govern this country for the benefit of all citizens. That involves doing what is best for the people in this country whether your opinion deems it moral or not.
And let me tell you something about opinion. I was once of the opinion that abortion was inherently wrong. Due in no small part to what I heard from the Catholic Church I thought anyone that even thought of doing it, was in a way evil. For me to remember that now, to think that I even thought that makes me ashamed. Why? It wasn’t until someone close to me had to make that choice. Then it hit me: who the hell am I to even attempt to force my opinion on someone regarding a choice they have made in regard to their own body?
You know what I decided to be angry about from that day on? Firstly I was angry at myself for allowing myself believe that. Then I became angry about men in a corrupt institution and the fact they had made me even think that. I was angry at those who like telling others what to do with their own bodies. I became angry at the fact that Irish women have to leave their own country, they have to leave supportive families, friends and services behind to go abroad to have abortions. I am angry that women are not free to choose what it is they wish to do with their bodies.
What century are we living in Mr Kenny? You know what also angers me? That the organisation behind this ‘moral’ crusade is the institution of the Catholic Church and their ideological ‘supporters’. You know – that’s the institution who for years covered up the rape and abuse of children.
You know – children. The beings who in the Church’s warped opinion have a right to life in the womb, but once born the very same beings were the ones that priests could rape, molest and abuse for decades and their superiors excused them for doing it. They moved them and shielded them from the law of the State. Some morals to live by! But then – nothing surprises me about the backwardness, immorality and evil of the Catholic Church.
I believe regarding the abused children, the Church and the State of Ireland, you once said: “But thankfully for them [the children], and for us [the people], this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world. This is the 'Republic' of Ireland 2011. A Republic of laws.....of rights and responsibilities....of proper civic order..... where the delinquency and arrogance of a particular version..... of a particular kind of 'morality'..... will no longer be tolerated or ignored.”
Why are you still allowing this criminal institution and its arrogance dictate what choices you make? Why are you are still tolerating “a particular kind of morality” when it comes to women and their choices regarding their bodies? Why Mr Kenny?
I do not call into question your own personally held beliefs Mr Kenny, but you are the Taoiseach of this country. You govern a people with many, many differently held beliefs. You govern many, many different cultures and you were elected to make decisions based on the legal constitution of this country. As you said yourself – this is a Republic of laws. I remind you that since 1992 a woman has had the right to an abortion in this country, yet successive governments, including yours, have refused to legislate.
“What”? I hear you ask.
I know Taoiseach. This is a country of “rights and responsibilities, of proper civic order” and yet 31-year-old Savita Praveen Halappanavar died in Galway because “a particular kind of ‘morality’” still runs through our political discourse and culture.
Shame on you and your government for allowing this to continue and shame on you for not having the decency and courage to sort out this shambolic mess that the women of this country find themselves in when it comes to decisions about their bodies. It took the rape of a fourteen year old in 1992 to get the Supreme Court to act. A woman has now needlessly died. What will make legislating for the X case a priority for your government Taoiseach? Another rape? Another death?
Or will it take a particular type of ‘moral guidance’ about women and their bodies from a man in a hat and a frock to make you legislate?
The eyes of the world are currently on us as a nation in regard to Savita’s tragic death. The ball is in your court Taoiseach. Be a leader. Legislate for the X case and move us beyond a particularly twisted form of morality.

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