Sensitive and complex

I can’t read this calmly; it makes me quake and gibber with rage. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Ireland is messing with the human rights of women by not allowing them to get abortions to save their lives.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the ruling raised “difficult issues” that needed to be carefully considered. Speaking in Brussels, he said it was much too early to make any decision on whether legislation would be required in light of the court’s decision.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said the Government [would] take legal advice. Acknowledging the judgment was binding on the State, she said the Government would have to come forward with proposals to reflect it. “However, this will take time as it is a highly sensitive and complex area,” Ms Harney said.

What is highly sensitive and complex? What is highly sensitive and complex about it? Is it really “sensitive” to say that women should not be forced to continue a pregnancy that will kill them?

Both Cowen and Harney seem to think so (or to think that the Irish public want them to talk as if they think so). Both seem to think they can’t just agree that the state should not force women to let themselves be killed by pregnancies.

The Government robustly defended the laws and said Ireland’s abortion laws were based on “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society”.

It argued that European Court on Human Rights has consistently recognised the traditions of different countries regarding the rights of unborn children. However, it maintained that the women’s challenge sought to undermine these principles and align Ireland with countries with more liberal abortion laws.

“These principles” – the ones that claim a fetus has rights that trump those of a grown woman. “Principles” is the wrong word.

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