They’re falling over each other to put clear air between themselves and Leo Varadkar over his recent statement on abortion law in Ireland.
Enda Kenny put on his most disapproving frown and huffed in his best teacher-turned-politician pomposity that Leo was talking in a personal capacity, as if somehow it’s a bad thing to have personal views. As if, even in such a raw, painful subject, there might be a difference in a civilised society between what a right-thinking person believes and what a government considers to be right.
What exactly was wrong with the views expressed by Dr Varadkar?
In what sense was he factually incorrect?
He pointed out that Irish law takes account only of a pregnant woman’s life, not her health. If it comes down to a straight choice between mother and baby, the baby will be delivered without taking account of the consequences for the mother, even if those consequences are stroke, heart attack or epileptic seizure.
That’s the law. Irish physicians may only legally contemplate abortion if a woman might actually die. If the mother is simply at risk of becoming permanently disabled or brain-damaged, Irish law regards such an eventuality as a trivial matter.
Likewise, Varadkar pointed out that parents who discover that their child is for example, anencephalic, are forced to go through the appalling experience of explaining to anyone who asks that the baby has no brain and that it cannot possibly survive outside the womb. The baby is, by all clinical standards, already dead, and yet Irish law forces women to go through the hell of nourishing that child’s body within themselves as if they were nothing more than mechanical life-support machines, when in fact there is no life.
That’s the attitude of Irish law towards expectant mothers in distress, if they can’t afford to travel to a mature country.
And that’s all Leo Varadkar pointed out. How despicable of Enda Kenny to distance himself from such a self-evidently decent position.