As Ireland Aborts Its Soul, America Seems Poised to Salvage Its Own

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus, the literary alter ego of Irish author James Joyce, laments: "We are an unfortunate, priest-ridden race and always were and always will be till the end of the chapter."

It would be difficult to imagine a more thunderous end to that chapter than Ireland's recent vote to "repeal the Eighth Amendment of the [Irish] Constitution – a 1983 measure that conferred equal rights on the fetus and the mother and banned abortion in almost all circumstances."  The New York Times trumpets that the vote amounts to a "rebuke to Catholic conservatism."

Politically speaking, it is highly likely that the Irish people have indeed issued a rebuke to Catholic conservatism.  The question is, at what cost?

First, we should note the obvious: abortion is not, strictly speaking, merely a religious issue.  It is an issue of morality, but the question as to the morality of the act of killing an unborn child can certainly be fielded, discussed, and legislated in a secular forum.  Consider that even the most secular nations have laws outlawing murder.  Many religions are indeed against murder, but we don't consider such laws religious in nature.  It, like abortion, is simply an issue of morality around which nations and peoples can craft laws.

Second, as it pertains to the morality of abortion, the advocates for repealing Ireland's abortion ban have been entirely disingenuous.  During the lead-up to the vote, these advocates "focused heavily on so-called hard cases faced by women, such as rape," along with issues where the health of the mother might be in jeopardy.

Insofar as those instances where the mother's life is in jeopardy, it should be understood that the Church does not demand that a mother die to save her child.  The Catechism allows for medical procedures to be performed where the act of saving the mother's life is the primary goal, and the child's death is an undesired and unintended but unavoidable outcome.  This stands in stark moral contrast to an abortion, performed with the explicit purpose of ending the child's life.  Additionally, consider that less than 1% of all abortions are performed in order to save the life of the mother. 

And the claim that free Irish abortions are about raped women?  That, too, was a lie.  In America, we know this as the "rape and incest" boondoggle.  Pro-abortion lobbyists argue that abortion must be legal and available so that women can abort progeny in cases of "rape and incest."  Such cases account for around 1% of abortions.

If such cases were indeed the crux of the debate, there can be little doubt that most pro-life opposition would concede to an allowance of abortions in such circumstances (it could reduce abortion by as much as 98%, after all).  But pro-abortion lobbyists would certainly not be satisfied with such an outcome.

Ultimately, the repeal of the Irish prohibition on abortion did not provide allowance for abortion in these, and only these, rare instances.  It has opened the door for a holistic allowance, protected by the Irish federal government, for Irish women to kill their unborn children for any reason whatsoever.

And unlike America's federally assumed allowance for killing unborn children for any reason whatsoever, the Irish people voted for that outcome.  This marks the willful staining of the national soul of Ireland.  Whether one takes that statement in a religious sense or a simpler moral one is irrelevant.

In America, it should be noted, the people have never voted for a federal allowance for free abortion. 

Roe v. Wade was arguably the most egregious act of misused authority in the history of our federal government, and there is simply no questioning that it has exacted the highest price – the death toll of unborn children in America since the 1973 ruling is over 60 million and climbing. 

Our constitutional form does not grant the judicial body, comprising unelected officials, the authority to create law.  Rather, the judicial body has the authority only to rule upon the lawfulness of existing laws within the context of the United States Constitution.  Roe v. Wade is a horrifying subversion of the Court's true purpose.  Not only did the ruling "simply fashion and announce a new right for pregnant women," as dissenting justice Byron White aptly noted, but it arbitrarily decided upon guidelines and timetables by which states might proscribe abortion.

Nowhere in our Constitution is there any evidence that the federal government has the right to issue laws allowing or prohibiting the practice of abortion, which can mean only that the right to issue any such laws would be within the jurisprudence of the states per Tenth Amendment.  In other words, abortion can be both a moral evil and legally allowed at the state level.  But a holistic federal allowance of this moral evil should be legally achieved only by amending our Constitution such that the federal government has such a right.

This may seem a trivial point to some, but the point remains: Americans have never chosen to be a nation with laws allowing for the frivolous murder of millions of unborn children.  Furthermore, one can easily conclude that this is a course that the American people would never have chosen to take, hence the reason for the Supreme Court's usurpation of authority that does not belong to it.

The Irish people, on the other hand, just chose to become such a nation.

This does not change the 60 million murders of the unborn, and it certainly does not excuse the legal holocaust that has taken place since 1973 in America.  But it does lead one to an interesting observation in terms of the political trends in Europe and America.  Ireland, following progressive sensibilities of other Western European nations, just willingly vacated its soul in order to demand that the government let women kill their unborn babies with reckless abandon.  America, on the other hand, never willingly did so, and what's more, we seem on the verge of some redemption for our part in what our federal overseers wrongfully visited upon us.

For the first time in my adult life, I feel that we have a president who is not only unapologetically pro-life, but is willing to fight to advance the pro-life agenda.  At the recent Susan B. Anthony Campaign for Life Gala, Donald Trump told the audience and the American people:

For decades, American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry through Title X federal funding, so today, we have kept another promise.  My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions.

This is action, and it is a stark statement about our moral trajectory.  As proud as I am of President Trump for making such bold efforts, I am even more proud of the American people.  As Trump said at the gala and later pointed out on Twitter, "For the first time since Roe v. Wade, America has a pro-life president, a pro-life vice president, a pro-life House of Representatives, and 25 pro-life Republican state capitals!"

This doesn't just happen.  This is a signal of true moral change, driven by people who increasingly understand that abortion is not solely a woman's choice, but rather, it is the denial of the right to life of the child within her. 

Most importantly, it signifies an opportunity to save our national soul in regard to the now legal mass murder of the unborn – a soul we did not willingly give, but was stolen from us decades ago.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus, the literary alter ego of Irish author James Joyce, laments: "We are an unfortunate, priest-ridden race and always were and always will be till the end of the chapter."

It would be difficult to imagine a more thunderous end to that chapter than Ireland's recent vote to "repeal the Eighth Amendment of the [Irish] Constitution – a 1983 measure that conferred equal rights on the fetus and the mother and banned abortion in almost all circumstances."  The New York Times trumpets that the vote amounts to a "rebuke to Catholic conservatism."

Politically speaking, it is highly likely that the Irish people have indeed issued a rebuke to Catholic conservatism.  The question is, at what cost?

First, we should note the obvious: abortion is not, strictly speaking, merely a religious issue.  It is an issue of morality, but the question as to the morality of the act of killing an unborn child can certainly be fielded, discussed, and legislated in a secular forum.  Consider that even the most secular nations have laws outlawing murder.  Many religions are indeed against murder, but we don't consider such laws religious in nature.  It, like abortion, is simply an issue of morality around which nations and peoples can craft laws.

Second, as it pertains to the morality of abortion, the advocates for repealing Ireland's abortion ban have been entirely disingenuous.  During the lead-up to the vote, these advocates "focused heavily on so-called hard cases faced by women, such as rape," along with issues where the health of the mother might be in jeopardy.

Insofar as those instances where the mother's life is in jeopardy, it should be understood that the Church does not demand that a mother die to save her child.  The Catechism allows for medical procedures to be performed where the act of saving the mother's life is the primary goal, and the child's death is an undesired and unintended but unavoidable outcome.  This stands in stark moral contrast to an abortion, performed with the explicit purpose of ending the child's life.  Additionally, consider that less than 1% of all abortions are performed in order to save the life of the mother. 

And the claim that free Irish abortions are about raped women?  That, too, was a lie.  In America, we know this as the "rape and incest" boondoggle.  Pro-abortion lobbyists argue that abortion must be legal and available so that women can abort progeny in cases of "rape and incest."  Such cases account for around 1% of abortions.

If such cases were indeed the crux of the debate, there can be little doubt that most pro-life opposition would concede to an allowance of abortions in such circumstances (it could reduce abortion by as much as 98%, after all).  But pro-abortion lobbyists would certainly not be satisfied with such an outcome.

Ultimately, the repeal of the Irish prohibition on abortion did not provide allowance for abortion in these, and only these, rare instances.  It has opened the door for a holistic allowance, protected by the Irish federal government, for Irish women to kill their unborn children for any reason whatsoever.

And unlike America's federally assumed allowance for killing unborn children for any reason whatsoever, the Irish people voted for that outcome.  This marks the willful staining of the national soul of Ireland.  Whether one takes that statement in a religious sense or a simpler moral one is irrelevant.

In America, it should be noted, the people have never voted for a federal allowance for free abortion. 

Roe v. Wade was arguably the most egregious act of misused authority in the history of our federal government, and there is simply no questioning that it has exacted the highest price – the death toll of unborn children in America since the 1973 ruling is over 60 million and climbing. 

Our constitutional form does not grant the judicial body, comprising unelected officials, the authority to create law.  Rather, the judicial body has the authority only to rule upon the lawfulness of existing laws within the context of the United States Constitution.  Roe v. Wade is a horrifying subversion of the Court's true purpose.  Not only did the ruling "simply fashion and announce a new right for pregnant women," as dissenting justice Byron White aptly noted, but it arbitrarily decided upon guidelines and timetables by which states might proscribe abortion.

Nowhere in our Constitution is there any evidence that the federal government has the right to issue laws allowing or prohibiting the practice of abortion, which can mean only that the right to issue any such laws would be within the jurisprudence of the states per Tenth Amendment.  In other words, abortion can be both a moral evil and legally allowed at the state level.  But a holistic federal allowance of this moral evil should be legally achieved only by amending our Constitution such that the federal government has such a right.

This may seem a trivial point to some, but the point remains: Americans have never chosen to be a nation with laws allowing for the frivolous murder of millions of unborn children.  Furthermore, one can easily conclude that this is a course that the American people would never have chosen to take, hence the reason for the Supreme Court's usurpation of authority that does not belong to it.

The Irish people, on the other hand, just chose to become such a nation.

This does not change the 60 million murders of the unborn, and it certainly does not excuse the legal holocaust that has taken place since 1973 in America.  But it does lead one to an interesting observation in terms of the political trends in Europe and America.  Ireland, following progressive sensibilities of other Western European nations, just willingly vacated its soul in order to demand that the government let women kill their unborn babies with reckless abandon.  America, on the other hand, never willingly did so, and what's more, we seem on the verge of some redemption for our part in what our federal overseers wrongfully visited upon us.

For the first time in my adult life, I feel that we have a president who is not only unapologetically pro-life, but is willing to fight to advance the pro-life agenda.  At the recent Susan B. Anthony Campaign for Life Gala, Donald Trump told the audience and the American people:

For decades, American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry through Title X federal funding, so today, we have kept another promise.  My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions.

This is action, and it is a stark statement about our moral trajectory.  As proud as I am of President Trump for making such bold efforts, I am even more proud of the American people.  As Trump said at the gala and later pointed out on Twitter, "For the first time since Roe v. Wade, America has a pro-life president, a pro-life vice president, a pro-life House of Representatives, and 25 pro-life Republican state capitals!"

This doesn't just happen.  This is a signal of true moral change, driven by people who increasingly understand that abortion is not solely a woman's choice, but rather, it is the denial of the right to life of the child within her. 

Most importantly, it signifies an opportunity to save our national soul in regard to the now legal mass murder of the unborn – a soul we did not willingly give, but was stolen from us decades ago.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.