Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Bishop John McAreavey: “Political representatives must answer for their own position on abortion…”

Thu 17 April 2014, 4:49pm

Tweet As the BBC reports, Sinn Féin’s Paul Maskey, MP for west Belfast, has apologised to the Catholic Bishop of Dromore, John McAreavey, for the misrepresentation of his views on abortion in “a letter written by local party members and distributed in west Belfast”.  Here’s the quoted apology in the BBC report - not yet available on the Sinn […] more »

The Pope is still a Catholic but maybe one like John XX111

Sat 21 September 2013, 12:19am

Tweet There’s no doubt of the instant secular and humanist appeal of Pope Francis’s interview with a Jesuist magazine .  The pope has attempted to change the whole direction of modern Catholicism.. Not since Khruschev denounced Stalin at the 20th Communist party conference has there been such a reforming speech-. That was the speech that […] more »

The fragile balancing act of the “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill”

Thu 20 June 2013, 12:59pm

Tweet Right now the Dail is sitting on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill. To say it has been controversial is an understatement. On Tuesday in a powerful essay (it sounded more like an address to the nation [MP3]), Olivia O’Leary called it “a distorted law” under which men and women would be far […] more »

Is the Catholic Church’s hard line on abortion legislation an acceptance that its influence over the Irish state is over?

Thu 13 June 2013, 11:43am

Tweet There are some interesting twists in the abortion debate in the Republic. As Michael Kelly of the Irish Catholic newspaper noted yesterday Armagh’s new-boy-to-be Eamonn Martin has been clear in ways his soon-to-be predecessor Sean Brady never was. As he also added, Rome will be pleased. And as Kelly rightly observes, polls can be […] more »

How well does the Catholic church understand its own teaching on abortion?

Wed 22 May 2013, 5:03pm

Tweet This is well worth noting before it passes over us, on the question of abortion in the south. James P Mackey is visiting professor at the school of religions and theology at Trinity College. And he’s been looking back at some of his old Catholic textbooks from Maynooth: The Roman Catholic hierarchy has formally […] more »

Uniting Ireland: no #abortion, no #equalmarriage

Wed 1 May 2013, 4:02pm

Tweet Some revealing attitudes in the debates on equal marriage and abortion either side of the border this week. Last night the heads of the proposed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 were published in Dublin (full details here courtesy of the Initial reaction has been mixed on both the pro-choice and anti-abortion sides, with […] more »

#Reilly legislation on abortion: It’s truly idiotic

Thu 25 April 2013, 11:00am
You didn't expect this.

Tweet And the abortion debate rumbles on …. Yesterday Health Minister James Reilly denied that it was ever being proposed that the opinion of six doctors would be stipulated in legislation covering abortion where there was a risk of suicide. This morning, Fionnan Sheahan published details of the draft legislation: • “One obstetrician and two […] more »

Sinn Féin and abortion – two more motions challenging the party’s current stance

Fri 12 April 2013, 11:49pm

Tweet For the second year in a row, motions about abortion have been submitted to the ard fheis. The Ard Chomhairle has its own motion this year around legislating “to give effect to the 1992 judgement of the Supreme Court in the X Case”. But the motion from headquarters is joined by two others that […] more »

Anti-abortion farce takes over Assembly

Sat 2 March 2013, 4:20pm

Tweet How sad and how typical it is that local parties are uniting to impose an unnecessary ban on a non-existent threat. The Marie Stopes clinic has said it will carry out medical, not surgical, procedures only up to nine weeks gestation and only within the existing legal framework of private abortions. They have made it […] more »

The moment of quickening

Tue 20 November 2012, 9:00pm

Tweet Patsy McGarry has an interesting article in the Irish Times today on the surprisingly fluid nature of the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion: … some of the church’s greatest teachers and saints believed no homicide was involved if abortion took place before the foetus was infused with a soul, known as “ensoulment”. This was […] more »

Short roundup on the #Savita case…

Thu 15 November 2012, 1:27pm

Tweet With as little comment and ado as possible… - Alex Massie notes the irreducible paradox of how the law as it stands was caught out by circumstance: Clearly, doctors did not think Mrs Halapannavar’s life was in danger. Equally likely: this delay helped kill her. - In the Irish Times, James McDermott notes: It […] more »

The pro-choice lobby’s exploitation of the Savita tragedy could backfire badly

Thu 15 November 2012, 9:48am

Tweet The old saying “hard cases make bad law” should be heeded as much by progressive campaigners as by fusty lawmakers. Because it is equally true that tragic cases make bad reforms. The pro-choice activists currently holding up photos of Savita Halappanavar, while calling on the Irish authorities to legislate for some forms of abortion […] more »

The principled barbarity that can happen in a “Catholic country”

Wed 14 November 2012, 11:08am

Tweet Excellent reporting by Kitty Holland and Paul Cullen in the Irish Times, that is all the more compelling for being dispassionate. Who will raise as voice against such shame? The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should […] more »

Don’t play legalistic games with abortion

Sat 20 October 2012, 7:28pm

Tweet Strange – or maybe not so strange – that the overwhelmingly male Slugger blogosphere tends to  prefer the sectarian dingdong  to difficult social issues like abortion which the Assembly and the legal establishment between them actually affect. But if constitutional issues are your bag, there’s now something in the subject for you too. After the […] more »

Abortion clinic opens in Belfast…

Thu 11 October 2012, 3:49am

Tweet NORTHERN Ireland is to get its first abortion clinic next week. In one of the biggest stories of our generation – and one which will unite hardline Protestants and Catholics - it’s reported that Marie Stopes will open for business in Belfast next Thursday, with the help of former PUP leader Dawn Purvis. The […] more »

‘New facts’ in abortion debate

Mon 5 March 2012, 10:12am

Tweet In recent years I’ve tried to track the long slow path to easing the bans on abortion in both parts of Ireland. And while I support it, I know full well it is no magic bullet so to speak. And so in the cause of disinterested debate and acknowledging the existence of many awkward facts, […] more »

“Ireland must enact an abortion law” orders the European Court of Human Rights

Thu 16 December 2010, 11:26am

Tweet As expected, the European Court of Human Rights has just ruled against the Irish State’s refusal to enact an abortion law. The ruling is precise and appears to dismiss the Irish government’s case in detail, adding that the State has  failed to uphold a woman’s constituional rights.  RTE reports that : the ECHR concluded Ireland had […] more »

Service not available in Northern Ireland

Fri 21 May 2010, 5:15pm

Tweet Channel  4’s decision not to broadcast the Marie Stopes ‘Are you late?’ TV advert in Northern Ireland raises questions about what information it is criminal to distribute here.  The Chief Executive of Marie Stopes International told the Guardian that ‘the advertising of abortion facilities, their contact numbers or addresses is against the law in […] more »

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