I’m a feminist, a leftist and a republican but I don’t think the pro-life DUP is anti-woman

In England about one in four pregnancies end in abortion, in a country where contraceptive services are free and available around the clock. Even if only from a health-economics perspective, it is nuts
In England about one in four pregnancies end in abortion, in a country where contraceptive services are free and available around the clock. Even if only from a health-economics perspective, it is nuts

As a republican, feminist, leftie, it’s maybe strange that I’m with the DUP on some issues.

I’m astonished at the unopposed narrative across social and print media in recent days that their pro-life stance is regressive and anti-woman.

Dr Anne McCloskey speaking to BBC's Enda McClafferty at the Foyle election count in the 2016 Stormont elections, where she stood as an independent. Photo Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.com

Dr Anne McCloskey speaking to BBC's Enda McClafferty at the Foyle election count in the 2016 Stormont elections, where she stood as an independent. Photo Lorcan Doherty/Presseye.com

Now I’m not an Arlene-admirer, nor the rest of them for that matter!

I have problems with climate-change denial, associations with shady paramilitary trogs who think flags are more important than people, sectarianism, racism, the list could go on but you get the picture.

But I’m in favour of their defence of the unborn, and the assertion that our laws protecting human life are appropriate and should be defended.

Across the island of Ireland have one of the safest places on earth for having children. And when things go wrong, the law is clear and unequivocal. A clinical judgement may be made by to intervene to end a pregnancy where necessary.

In the six counties recent (2016) guidelines state clearly that any intervention to a pregnant woman that is potentially harmful to the foetus may be carried out with the intention of protecting the woman against physical or mental health issues that are ‘real and serious’ and ‘permanent or long term’.

Laws in the 26 counties are similar in spirit. So what’s the problem? Women and their babies can be kept safe and healthy under existing legislation.

I used to work in peri-natal intensive care and I’ve seen these wee scraps of humanity fighting for life, feeling pain, and loving being held and soothed. These are evidently members of the human family, even though totally dependent for all their needs.

The narrative that the unborn human infant is “part of the woman’s body” is biological balderdash. Even the abortion practitioners concede this. With the advent of modern imaging, we can see the amazing development of the child in utero and can’t deny the continuum of development from fertilisation till birth. Google it. Beautiful.

It follows also that to assert that the new baby is merely a part of the mother before birth completely denies and denigrates the concept of fatherhood. This is not “only a woman’s issue”. Men need to reclaim their role as parents, but also and maybe more importantly their responsibilities in the whole process of making babies.

The phrase “fatal foetal abnormality” is inaccurate and offensive, despite its ubiquitous usage. No person is an “abnormality”. These are children with life-limiting disabilities. There are compassionate and life-affirming ways of helping these families through what is undoubtedly a traumatic and often bewildering experience-have a look at Both Lives Matter on FB, to see how it works. And where this pathway is not appropriate, re-read the paragraphs of this article above about the laws.

Where abortion is legal, around 95% of people with Down’s syndrome don’t survive, and defects as minor as clefts are sufficient to render one’s life forfeit.

Next time you’re watching the Special Olympics, consider how many “abnormalities”, and what choice means in this context.

Of course, worldwide, the most common “fatal foetal abnormality” is that of being female. Sex-selective foeticide means that, for example in India today there are 50,000,000, yes that’s fifty million missing females. So who’s anti-woman now?

In England about one in four pregnancies end in abortion, in a country where contraceptive services are free and available around the clock. Even if only from a health-economics perspective, in a cash-strapped NHS this is nuts. But the multi-billion pound for-profit abortion providers aren’t going to tell you this.

It has been estimated that over 100,000 people in Ireland are alive today because of our laws protecting the dignity of human life. How many of these are our friends, colleagues, family members, partners or perhaps ourselves?

There is a well-funded and highly influential lobby in this country waging a battle for hearts and minds.

Republicans recognise that the only legitimate authority comes from the people. We don’t have to follow the failed models of other nations, but, “relying on our own genius and traditions” can forge a better way. The most basic right, upon which all other rights depend, is the right to life.

I uphold the tenets expressed in the Declaration of the Republic over 100 years ago, and know that to cherish all of the children of the nation includes protecting her most vulnerable.

But I don’t think I’ll be voting DUP anytime soon.

Anne Mc Closkey. MB BCH BAO, Londonderry