Irony in Ireland: CNN Article on Repeal of 8th Amendment Annotated

I wasn’t sure what to title this post, but I’m certain something needs to be said about this particular article I came across after Ireland voted to repeal the 8th amendment, which has been labeled a “near-ban” on abortion. It is considered a near-ban because one circumstance kept it from being a complete ban. That circumstance, according to one of the articles in the amendment, was if the mother’s life was at risk. Seems reasonable. In fact, it’s the only case where ending a pregnancy is reasonable. I don’t even think it’s right to call this particular circumstance abortion because it’s not the same thing. It is simply the unfortunate, unintended and unforeseen consequences of something gone wrong during a pregnancy. I’ll get more to this issue a little later.

There may be some nuances to the situation that I don’t understand simply because I don’t live in Ireland. I recognize that. I also know that the situation in the U.S. on this issue is really no different. My point is not to condemn the Irish necessarily. My point is to show the callousness of the people fighting for the right to kill the unborn, as well as the ironic way in which the media reports on issues related to abortion rights. My goal in this post is to annotate an article that was written by Kara Fox for CNN in order to shed some light on the nauseating irony in the article. I won’t annotate every single piece of the article so I will link to it here. For the sake of clarity, I will put the quoted text of the article in italics and my own commentary in bold. Here we go:

As she held her 18-month old daughter closely to her chest, Amanda Mellet summed up in words what many in Ireland were feeling Saturday after the nation’s referendum on abortion passed by a landslide. “It just means that women — and the men who love the women of Ireland — have spoken out and they’ve said times have to change. And they are going to change now,” a tearful Mellet said at the Royal Dublin Society, where the count took place throughout the day.

Did you catch that? As she was holding her 18-month old daughter, she was celebrating, TEARFULLY, at the repeal of the 8th amendment. I actually had to read the quote a second time to make sure I had it right. Only slightly ironic.

A crisis pregnancy for Mellet in 2011 became an important step in the fight against Ireland’s constitutional amendment that bans abortion in almost all circumstances. She was forced to choose between carrying a non-viable pregnancy to term or traveling abroad for a termination. She chose the latter, and in June 2016, the UN’s Human Rights Council ruled that the country’s abortion regime subjected her to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” and called on the Irish government to reform its laws.

Now again, the ban was on abortion in almost all circumstances as the article states. The circumstance that allowed for a pregnant woman to get an abortion under the amendment was if the mother’s life was at risk. It sounds like if that was the case for this woman, she should have been able to have a procedure. Of course, it depends on what a “non-viable” pregnancy is defined as. It is possible that this woman was going to be unnecessarily forced to carry her pregnancy to term with her life in danger, which seems like it would have been unconstitutional, and therefore, illegal. Or, it could have been poor judgment by the medical professionals. Or, it actually was a viable pregnancy. More on a similar issue in a moment.

[Clare] Comran said she had always hoped Ireland would make the “leap forward” and had recently noticed a shift in national attitudes. The Irish people, she said, were “really ready to embrace progress and trust themselves. It feels really lovely to be trusted and to feel like a whole person in my country. I’ve never had that in my entire life as an Irish person,” she said, adding that she was grateful for the groundwork that women’s rights activists had done to arrive at this moment. 

The language used by progressives on the issue of abortion always fascinates me: “leap forward”, “progress”, “trust”. And somehow being able to kill the unborn baby in your womb is what defines someone being a whole person. And this woman claims that it feels “lovely”. What this also does is make the unborn person not a person at all, which is what you have to do in the progressive argument. You have to convince yourself and everyone else that the unborn is not human, not a person.

[Ailbhe] Smyth told CNN that the road to get to this day had been a long and hard one, but the result marked a seismic shift for the country. “Irish people are clearly standing up and saying of course the lives of women in Ireland matter.

Yes, of course, the lives of women matter in Ireland, except unborn women. Again, allowing them to kill the baby inside of them is the mark for showing that their lives matter. It’s hard to understand how being able to kill your unborn baby is a better indicator of how much your life is valued over your willingness and capability to bring a human life into the world. If any of these pregnant women feel undervalued, all they need to do is point to their belly and say, “look at what I am able to do! Human existence depends on me!” Of course, childbearing isn’t the only thing that makes women valuable, but it’s extremely significant. Instead, having value means I can kill my unborn child.

It’s a great victory for equality for freedom for dignity for human rights, — and not only for women,” Smyth said.

Once again, in order for this to be a victory for human rights, the unborn can’t be human. If the unborn are human, this is a gross injustice.

Not far from the polling station, a more somber atmosphere was felt at the mural of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old woman who died in 2012 from a septic miscarriage in Galway after being denied an abortion.

The use of this circumstance for the progressive argument in Ireland is interesting and is a common one in the U.S. as well. Again, article 40.3.3 of the 8th amendment made a provision for abortion when a mother’s life was at risk. This would have to mean that what medical professionals did was illegal, or they made a huge mistake in denying this woman an abortion. Tragically her life ended because of a septic miscarriage.

John Howard, 28, brought a bouquet of flowers to the site. “Her story was one that captured the realities of what the Eighth Amendment meant in a material, tangible way,” he said. “It took the life of a woman. Her memory is a bit of an avatar for change — and for the direction that we’d like Ireland to take. Her story encapsulates what we’d like to never see again and hope that whatever changes can be made in her honor.”

The progressives shouldn’t be able to use this story as an avatar because the example situation is one that was protected under the 8th amendment and it’s articles already. Instead, Halappanavar’s situation is a rare case that is being used as the benchmark for why abortion should be legal in Ireland. Her situation is representative of only a fraction of the reasons as to why women have abortions. If I were her family, I would be furious that people are heralding her story for the cause of abortion in Ireland because it’s not the same circumstance most other women seek out abortion.

Others left notes. One read: “If I have a daughter, I will name her Savita, after you.”

The irony here is glaring. I’m not even sure if I need to annotate it. I won’t.

Brendan Lynch, 81, was standing between a group of young people drinking sparkling wine and a mother whose children had fallen asleep in their stroller.


Emma Gallagher, 22, was crying with joy moments after the referendum passed.

“I feel safe now, I feel comfortable,” she said. “It felt for a long time women didn’t matter…now we know that we matter.”

Only certain women matter and feel safe. This is definitely not the case for the ones still in the womb.

“It was all for justice,” she [Rene Wogan] told [Emma] Gallagher. “You’re forwarding the flag on for women.”

What justice? If she is speaking of Halappanavar who died, then justice would have been holding medical personnel responsible. Instead, many more people are going to die.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a press conference that a “quiet revolution” had taken place.

It was anything but quiet! You should see the video of how people came together to celebrate. There were thousands of people.

In the square, a crowd of some 5,000 supporters roared, “We did it.”

Wait, I thought it was quiet…

This brings me to the end of the annotation of the article. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of the irony:

  • People were rejoicing about the repeal of the 8th amendment while holding their babies or pushing them in a stroller.
  • Many women feel like “whole people” because they can kill a person.
  • Women feel more valued for being able to kill a baby rather than birth one.
  • People in Ireland are using the case of a woman dying due to a septic miscarriage as an “avatar” for the movement when abortion under the 8th amendment was already legal in her circumstance.
  • One person left a note at Halappanavar’s memorial saying they would name their daughter after her.
  • A woman now feels safe and comfortable to be able to kill an unborn child.
  • Justice means killing even more people.
  • The revolution was quiet as 5,000 people roared.

Even after all of this explanation, many might have trouble seeing the irony. This is a scary situation if the irony isn’t understood simply because someone is slow to understand irony.

*One final note: I understand people who have had abortions and are plagued with regret and guilt have a hard time reading things on this issue. Please know that Christ can forgive any sin and you can still advocate for the defense of the unborn.

Author: Brandon Imbriale

I hold a B.A. from California Baptist University and a MDiv from Gateway Seminary. I also think I'm a photographer who loves to takes pictures of anything ocean related and landscape. In real life I work in education.

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