Saddened, But Not Surprised

Last year, I went to the International Atheist Convention in Cologne. On the last day Michael Nugent, Chairperson of Atheist Ireland, gave a talk about the recent progress that Ireland has made in human rights. It was while we were in Cologne that the news arrived that Ireland had managed to pass marriage equality and Nugent, understandably proud of his country’s progress, stated that we can finally say that Ireland is no longer ruled by Catholic dogma.

In the questions section, I hestiantly threw a bit of a wet blanket on that bold statement. While I am overjoyed at the news about marriage equality, I said, how can you say that Irish law has divorced itself from Catholic dogma when abortion, for pretty much any reason, is still completely illegal? He waffled a bit about sure, that’s the next step, and Atheist Ireland is of course interested in that, but it’s really hard legally speaking, then he changed the subject.

I lived in Ireland for 5 years, and I well remember how topics like abortion and reproductive health were dealt with. I found myself explaining to many of my college peers about the various kinds of birth control and, one day when I found myself needing a morning after pill, I managed to find the indescript white building which was the reproductive health clinic despite that it had no signs, no windows one could see through, and I was buzzed in through a double door overlooked by security cameras. Ireland is still in the middle of an uphill battle to completely divorce church and state.

So when I saw this video about an undercover reporter going to a so called “unbiased” Women’s clinic in Dublin for information about abortion, I was not surprised at all to hear the woman behind the desk making a bunch of ridiculous and horrible shit up to convince the reporter not to go through with it.


Those of you in the States familiar with those bogus health clinics that have cropped up there too will have heard the usual suspects, like you’re going to get breast cancer if you have the abortion, and that the 7 week old fetus will feel pain. This woman takes it further, with gems of steaming bullshit like a 7 week old fetus feels more pain than a toddler because it’s so sensitive, that women who have abortions are more likely to become abusers to their future children, and that you might need a hysterectomy or a colectomy if the abortion goes south. Perhaps someone should inform her that, in the UK at least, abortions are no longer performed with coat hangers.

It’s very sad that in 2016 this is still going on but, as I said, it is not surprising to me in the least. It was not long ago that Savita lost her life as a result of Ireland’s medieval abortion laws, and while I cannot find a single Irish person in my generation who disagrees with legalizing abortion, the country as a whole is apparently still not ready to pass such a law.

So no, I’m not surprised, but I do hope that this exposè causes enough chatter so that the Irish government might, at the very least, start looking into and regulating these so-called Women’s clinics, at least so that they stop being centers of misinformation.


  1. says

    I lived in Ireland for 5 years, and I well remember how topics like abortion and reproductive health were dealt with.

    I studied there for a year, and I’m glad I was kind of young and naive and mostly unaware that my life was in danger. Sure, I knew abortion was illegal, but it’S also technically illegal in Germany so it never crossed my mind that they’d let me die of a pregnancy gone South.

    • thoughtsofcrys says

      Is it technically illegal in Germany? I’ve heard that it is illegal from a Greek colleague of mine, but my German colleagues have sworn to me that it is only illegal after a certain time point of the pregnancy, though none of them are clear as to what the law actually is, and I can’t seem to find adequate information on the subject online. Since I live in Germany now, any info on the subject would be appreciated! Basically, if I ever find myself needing an abortion, am I going to have to fly back to Italy?

      • says

        Brace yourself for German complication.
        First of all, abortion is illegal except in the cases of rape, health of the pregnant person and “socio-psychological indication”, which is usually serious fetal malformation, but because of German history you’re not touching “aborting a fetus because of disability” with a ten feet pole.
        But, and this is a really big but: You can get a technically illegal but not prosecuted abortion until 12 weeks after conception, 14 weeks as people normally count pregnancies. First you need to get what I’m calling “a slut shaming slip”: a paper that tells you that you have been to a mandatory “pro life” (just not your life) counselling. Can you believe it? They told you all about the the little help you can get and you still don’t want a baby. How sad! (Of course there are decent organisations who won’t try to coerce you).
        Back when this change came the Pope himself forbade catholic organisations to continue pregnancy crisis counselling because then women might get abortions.
        If you find yourself in need of an abortion, the best address is Pro Familia. Just think Planned Parenthood. They also run “clinics” where they provide abortions, vasectomies and many more.

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