The indiscriminate and exploitative use of a dead woman's name, and her image, to push a controversial campaign - that she was never part of - continues. Yet the same campaigners ignore the tragic death of Aisha Chithira, writes NIAMH UÍ BHRIAIN
You may have seen that media commentators are in a major tizzy about something called ‘fake news’, which they say is having an influence on public opinion, and that this is a Very Bad Thing. The irony here is that fake news is nothing new in the mainstream media, and the breathless reporting on the supposed ‘strike’ in support of the repeal of the 8th is just the latest example of the media tendency to distort the facts, or exclude alternative views, on a whole range of issues.
There is a beautiful café that I regularly go to where the coffee is good, the staff are friendly and the food is top notch. While there, I usually pick up whatever paper is available and have a good read through it. One of the papers regularly available is The Irish Times. Last week, 20th January to 26th January, I had an opportunity to thoroughly read, explore and investigate The Irish Times on every day of its publication, excluding Sunday. Let’s just say, it made for interesting reading. Despite their repeal propaganda and deliberate attempts at brainwashing (their catchphrase is ‘You are what you read’) I’m still a firm pro-life advocate. During these six days I paid close attention to their antics, tactics and tricks that try to draw people over to the repeal/pro-abortion side. After this review, I then imagined myself in the position of the editor of The Irish Times. Below are my thoughts on what the editor’s group e-mail reviewing the week would be:
Mattie McGrath, the pro-life TD for Tipperary, was recently sent a series of questions on the recommendations of the Abortion Committee by a journalist. He proposed clarifications to the questions which are a must-read. If we had this kind of clarity in the debate it would make for an honest and factual discussion on abortion, but, of course, the media’s heads would collectively explode.
It’s not exactly news. For many years now, the right to publicly protest has been coming under attack by people who are determined to shut down dissenting voices. You don’t actually need to be protesting to have your voice silenced – these days all you need is your publicly stated opinion that goes against the approved political view. So cake makers are fined in Northern Ireland for refusing to make a celebration cake for a gay wedding, a president a student socity of an Irish university is impeached simply for believing it’s wrong to kill unborn children, university pro-life and christian clubs are shut down simply for being pro-life and christian, a teacher in Cambridge is disciplined by his board and may lose his job for not referring to a transgender girl as a boy, and et cetera. And in another nuance on the possibilities of eroding democracy and shutting down free speech, there is the increasingly intense battle to put an end to peaceful prayer, protest and any presence at all by pro-life people outside abortion businesses.
The headlines were dramatic, and wholly misleading, but when it comes to abortion unfortunately this sort of fake news reporting has become the new standard in Ireland. So first, let’s set the record straight: a child was not locked up for seeking an abortion in Ireland, and nothing in Irish law would permit any woman to be detained because she requested an abortion. So what are the facts of the case? Firstly, very little is known apart from what was detailed in a report from the Child Care Law Reporting Project. That project reported that a consultant psychiatrist had recommended that a pregnant girl be detained “because she had a mental health disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act ….. and was at risk of self harm and suicide”.
It is common knowledge in the pro-life movement that the “pro-choice” media is, for the most part, “pro-abortion.” This is not an attempt to demonize their motives, but simply the only rational conclusion that observation can produce. Consistently, the media and their abortion industry allies portray legislation that would give women more information—informed consent, information concerning the baby’s development in the womb, ultrasounds—as “anti-choice,” when in in fact these policies simply allow women to make their irreversible, permanent decision with more facts. That those facts often prove persuasive in swaying women to choose life is evidence that providing them with these facts is not only useful, but should be, if “pro-choice” meant anything at all, imperative.
A new series of reports has been released which is so shocking that the British mainstream media– which usually manages to ignore the seedier aspects of the abortion industry – has been forced to cover it. It was revealed that Marie Stopes International (the UK’s largest abortion provider) is guilty of a plethora of ethical, medical, and even basic sanitary infractions. The abortion giant performs roughly 70,000 abortions each year in the UK, and Irish women are referred to Marie Stopes UK by their referral agency in Dublin. However, the Irish media have almost completely ignored these shocking findings, perhaps because they seem to care less about woman than about protecting the abortion industry. Read on to see what was revealed.
The mainstream media, along with a host of celebrities, didn’t shy away from telling America how to vote this year. Sadly for them, people just didn’t seem to listen. Liberals and the mainstream media are reeling from what they refer to as Donald Trump’s “shock victory” in the long, drawn-out 2016 US Presidential Election.
I see you have invited abortion provider Ann Furedi to Dublin for a chat on the theme of: ‘Abortion and how to help us navigate the Irish Catholic misogynist oppressive laws’. Or something ‘original’ like that. I am amazed at your hypocrisy and inconsistency, especially since I spent a year in your M.A. in Women’s Studies, Ailbhe, and Ann Furedi seems to represent everything that you used to criticise in UCD. Furedi is the epitome of patriarchal power and money and yet you’ve invited her to Dublin because she supposedly cares so much about Irish women. Not unless there’s a very patriarchal price tag with BPAS written on it. Ann Furedi _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ READ MY GUIDE TO FUREDI PATRIARCHAL POINTS OUT OF 10 AND YOU WILL SEE WHAT I MEAN: 1. Furedi makes lots of patriarchal cash – forced from the UK taxpayer. Britons don’t have a say in these taxes and Furedi doesn’t seem to mind handling cash made from killing unborn babies. Ailbhe, I thought that you believed that forcing money from people was oppression? Funny, I’m sure that you used to say that in UCD. Furedi Patriarchal points: 10 – up there with trafficking of unborn baby body parts. 2. Furedi says that she’s all for women’s rights, once you’re not still in your mother’s womb. So all future women world leaders and feminists, is there any way you can bypass those nine intra-uterine months, because you will be more under threat there than probably in any other point in your lives. I’m certain that you talked about defending women leaders and feminists in UCD, Ailbhe. Did I hear you right? Now I’m beginning to wonder… Furedi Patriarchal points: 11 – too crazy for just 10 – total inconsistency. 3. Furedi also thinks that all unborn with disabilities are fair game to be eliminated. Now, Ailbhe, didn’t you used to talk about equality for all, when you were “lecturing” to us in UCD? Why, you even used to team up with the Equality Studies Centre in the university and brought in individuals with disabilities to talk to us. I’m thinking that they must have been in somebody’s womb at some stage. Ailbhe, I’m getting very confused at the way you keep on moving those goalposts… Furedi Patriarchal points: 10 – for sheer hypocrisy. 4. Despite being a “charity”, BPAS makes lots of profits and reports increasingly healthy profits every single year. It’s all about the money, money, money, Ailbhe, not about the women, women, women. I thought you used to get annoyed about women being exploited through various patriarchal institutions. You see why I’m becoming increasingly bewildered by your various inconsistent stances? Furedi Patriarchal Points: 9 – seeing as the BPAS is a “charity”. 5. Furedi gives the thumbs up to abortion FOR ANY REASON, up to birth. C’mon, Ailbhe. Is this really the statement of a reasonable woman? What if you change your mind about parenthood half-way through labour? Or remember you’re late for a hairdressing appointment? The clump of cells hasn’t become a human yet, as far as Furedi is concerned, so the “products of conception” are still fair game. Furedi Patriarchal points: 15 – as these are clearly the ramblings soundbites of a person in total denial of reality, I am at a total loss on what to say. Sad, isn’t it, the way Furedi needs money to make herself feel important. And I always thought that you said you had a problem with patriarchal symbols of power and oppression, Ailbhe? Speaking of salaries, I do hope that your little group isn’t paying for Furedi’s flight and hotel stay, seeing as the woman is on at least £115,000 a year. But if you are paying… well, what can I say? Yours etc.
Maria Horan M.A. Women’s Studies, B.A. Arts, H.Dip.Ed., H.Dip.R.E., Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge Fheidhmeach, B.A. Ed.
This week, the Journal ran a fact-check on the 20-page information booklet from the Life Institute used in the Life Canvass, and, much to the chagrin of abortion supporters, they didn’t find one false statement in it.