I miscarried in early pregnancy. A blighted ovum meant that the embryo hadn’t developed properly. A loss for us. We grieved mightily for what may have been. Like thousands of others, many with multiple miscarriages and much loss. To the rest of the world, miscarriage may be commonplace, a simple statistic, no big deal, but it can be very sore on us.
We were lucky. Girl1 & Girl2 arrived, thrived, and are doing what teens do.
Ireland (the rest of it, not Northern Ireland) is having a referendum soon. I don’t live in the jurisdiction and I can’t vote, but it’s occupying my mind. As it stands, the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution gives equal right to life to the unborn, prohibiting abortion and impacting on medical care to all women, pregnant, pregnancy related or not. The forthcoming referendum is on whether that amendment should be repealed.
There are lots of discussions and campaigning. There is fake news (fake medical practitioners included). There was incredible crowdfunding for posters & information packs. Posters have been put up and taken down and put back up again. It’s not always a polite discussion- feelings and convictions are running high.
One post has caught in my mind; the one asking if a foetus is human, & if not, when does it become so. Years ago, my wee embryo didn’t even make it to foetus-hood. It stopped developing and ended up simply a ‘product of conception’.
It was human tissue, but not a human. Like a toe nail or an appendix, it wasn’t capable of becoming a human. Not all pregnancies can result in human beings. Human life cannot be said to ‘begin at conception’: tissue growth is not life.
The philosophers & scientists do their thinking and their research. They shape and advance our understanding of our world. I am neither of those. There are many issues I don’t understand or am not aware of, but I know that my first pregnancy would never have resulted in a human being. Nor would thousands of others. I don’t know when ‘human ness’ happens, but we cannot assume that it happens from conception.
Most abortions happen before 10 weeks gestation- around the time my product of conception was being evicted. How many people have the guilt and the stress of leaving Ireland or buying pills for a procedure that may have happened naturally? The expense, the uncertainty, the illegality for something not even guaranteed to grow into a human. Surely, appropriate local healthcare must be a better option?
Why would any compassionate society think that was a bad thing?
Why would any compassionate society not permit people a say in their own medical care?
Why would any compassionate society make doctors consult the constitution before their medical expertise?
With the 8th amendment in place, can Ireland claim to have a compassionate society?