Opinion: The Great Pro-Life Contradiction
A lot has been said recently regarding Irish pro-life pressure groups and
how much of their funding comes from foreign entities. Yes, how much. Not ‘whether a proportion of their funds come from foreign entities’. Conservative pro-life, ‘pro-family’ (read: anti-gay) groups have significant support from overseas factions who see Ireland as one of the last bastions of right-wing anti-everything, so the question for many critical thinkers is how much of this funding comes from overseas donations, and how ethical or indeed legal is the subsequent appropriation of these monies.
A truth far easier to grasp is that no matter where the funding comes from, pro-life pressure groups are spending it on endeavours that are in direct opposition with their supposed ethos, Christian or otherwise. One cannot claim to hold the moral high ground when one is spending a king’s ransom on razamatazz ding-dongs to support and bolster one’s standpoint. Seriously, if anything is going to undermine Ireland’s pro-life movement, it’s that they’re shitting money on frivolities instead of using it to actually do good.
This shouldn’t need to be spelled out, but we’re going to do it anyway, just in case.
These self-appointed moral guardians purport to be pro-life. They are campaigning to put a halt to the drawing up of abortion legislation in Ireland, even in its promised paltry form. Our government intends to enact legislation to make concrete the instances where a pregnancy can be terminated: where the life of the mother is at risk. So basically, Ireland’s pro-life factions wish to demonstrate their pro-life views… by killing women. The right to life of the foetus supersedes that of the mother, and the pro-life stance is that it’s better for two lives to end rather than one.
Two lives to end rather than one. If the mother might not live through her pregnancy, it’s better she just goes ahead and dies. Babies are far more evocative a symbol than big, hairy, curvy, sexual women.
To add insult to oxymoron, Ireland’s pro-life groups say that this is because because they value life, and that the life of the unborn is as valid as the lives of those of us already here. However, their distinct lack of interest in the welfare of anyone already here suggests otherwise.
Pro-life pressure groups in Ireland are wealthy enough to be able to run nationwide billboard campaigns. As in the case of the recent Vigil For Life rally, organisers were able to host media tents; employ stewards; pay for public address systems, giant screens, and stages; and bus the devout in from all over the country (and, according to various attendees who reported groups of American, British and Spanish marchers, even beyond). These are not the actions of a group of like-minded do-gooders; their scale, never mind their ferocity, suggests that they are the actions of a well-organised, financially cushioned group of… well, it’s hard to go on. What is the collective term for people who’d rather spend their money on ostentatious shows of strength than on ventures that might have some practical benefit for the causes they claim to stand for?
What’s so very Christian about dicking away money on public peacocking? The concept of appearing bigger than they are – a deliberate effect achieved through incentive (free buses and iPad giveaways), selective reporting (only young people up front, directing media as to what photographs they should be taking) and brass neck lies (seriously inflating attendance figures is really on the minor end of the lies you get as standard from Ireland’s Christian right, something Jesus wasn’t all that into) – seems to be a concept more worthy of funding than genuinely charitable efforts.
Because we need to realise this: these pro-life pressure groups are more interested in growing their own legend than they are in anything else.
Here are a whole bunch of things pro-life bigots, and, by extension, the Irish Catholic Church, could be spending that money on, if they truly cared about life.
- Children’s hospitals.
- Education and business grants for single-parent families, those people who, despite the shit flung at them from the twisted moralists of Ireland’s Christian armies, choose to have and raise the children biology gave them.
- Replacing or bolstering the various family allowances cut by the State due to austerity measures.
- Realistic, non-judgemental and positive sex education programs for young people.
- Charities that provide support, both emotionally and financially, to parents raising children with special needs.
Just a few ideas. A few causes that receive none of the attention Ireland’s religious right lavish on their own giant trumpets.
These pro-life types have not a pinch of interest in anything outside of a woman’s womb. Their sphere is of the intentionally vague, the human rights issue that requires its practitioner to lift not a single finger for human rights. It’s essentially the low-impact workout of choice for the lazy bigot: the pro-life argument, the idea that women cannot be trusted without the vice-like grip of religious obligation tugging them in the right direction, the ideology with not a whit of real-world practicality.
These people are not pro-life. They’re anti-sex. Their refusal to think of abortion as anything other than a baby-killin’ oogly boogly has less to do with philosophical questions about life, death and how to apply ethics to compulsory fertility than it has to do with fear of promiscuity and the idea that somewhere, someone’s fucking with aplomb. The refusal of pro-life pressure groups to face the facts about abortion, to realise who this issue really affects, and to consider the personal or social cost of the alternative should really illustrate, in no uncertain terms, that these marching blowhards are ignorant, frightened and desperate.
They’re desperate to keep sending our women to the UK. They’re desperate to prevent women in need from receiving the best medical care. Women who are pregnant because of rape, or women who are pregnant with unviable foetuses, or women who are pregnant despite taking contraceptive measures, or women who are pregnant even though they’re too young to be mothers, or women who are pregnant for whatever reason… Ireland’s pro-life organisations want them to suffer for their dirty, disgusting indiscretions. They want them to live with the consequences of their biological status. They want to put a halt to their gallop. They want to continue thinking of new life as a curse from a vengeful god. Mandatory babies for all. Children for those who don’t want them. Stillbirths for women who dare question the invisible all-maker.
That’s all they are, our pro-life antagonists. Pursed-lip busybodies who hide their judgemental fetishes behind hand-wringing and concern. And we know this because of where their money goes. Into a self-perpetuating, self-congratulatory circle, a system of passing judgement on others and getting one’s own self-worth from it, existence for the sake of existence. A reluctance to engage with facts, science or reality because each would threaten that cosy, wealthy clique. Sadism and schadenfreude. An attempt to smother what frightens them, by any means necessary. Lies, lies and more lies. Lies to keep the machine running. For where would these little maggots be without it?