O'Doherty: Sins of the father confuse the abortion debate
The morning after the gay marriage referendum, I found myself talking to a woman who was beside herself with joy at the result. I pointed out that while I had voted 'Yes', I also looked forward to a summer of not having to nail your moral colours to the mast on every issue going.
The woman was having none of it. She expressed outrage (fake outrage, I imagine) when I suggested that people should calm down about the referendum result - we had voted on a relatively niche issue, we hadn't just abolished slavery - and then she was quick to trill that: "Now we can take this victory into the abortion referendum!"
Jesus. That's going to be fun.
The individual involved was a classic SJW - full of the belief that if you support one thing, you must automatically support another, entirely unrelated, cause. And if you don't? Then you're a monster.
The recent pro-life rally in Dublin attracted plenty of opposition on the streets from pro-choice campaigners and that's fair enough - this is still a democracy which permits freedom of assembly, after all.
Depressingly, the pro-life side might be more overt in their belief in a God, but nobody does Holier-Than-Thou quite like the pro-choice brigade.
Depending on whatever side of the political aisle you stand on, the other side behaves atrociously. I've previous experience with the likes of Youth Defence and found some of them to be stunningly unpleasant bullies, but that doesn't absolve the pro-choice side from their own boorish behaviour - if screaming at the opposition and holding a placard saying: "Fuck you, I'm pro-choice" is the face of tolerance then you can include me out.
People of good conscience can disagree on this matter. In fact, plenty of people who voted 'Yes' in the marriage referendum would still vote 'No' when it comes to abortion. That's because, contrary to what the pious Left would have you believe, people are capable of making up their own minds on separate issues and, crucially, keeping them separate. But the most morally repugnant argument of them all is surely the one which states that abortion should be banned "except in cases of incest of rape".
Like all fallacies, that sounds reasonable and fair. It even comes with the subtext that this is some sort of a sensible, compassionate compromise when, in fact, it's actually a case of eugenics at its worst.
Either a foetus is an innocent person or it's not.
In the same way that you can't be a little bit pregnant, when it comes to abortion you either support it or you don't and this nonsense about being opposed to terminations except for certain circumstances is a classic piece of Irish sophistry.
If you believe, as many people still do, that every foetus is precious, and that abortion is murder by another name, then why would you be prepared to make a special provision to murder someone because their father was a rapist?
If a child was discriminated against in school because they were the product of a sexual assault, people would be rightly outraged.
In fact, if anybody stood up and loudly proclaimed that we should treat children of rape or incest as second-class citizens and refuse to grant them the same rights as other children, there would be hysteria and complaints to the cops.
That's what happens when people try to have their cake and eat it. They are instinctively against abortion but they don't want to appear uncaring, so they throw in that little nugget about rape and incest to show that they are actually compassionate types even when they have proved they are nothing of the sort.
If you think abortion is wrong because you are killing a person, how can you be happy to kill some people because of the sins of their father? In fact, you could argue that those who call for selective abortion are the true fanatics who apparently want the worst of both worlds. It's going to be a long debate...
Most spiteful reaction to a mother's loss of her son
With a career spent gleefully slaughtering enough cows to fill her own abbatoir, Burchill has made a few enemies on the way
From being the wild child of rock journalism at the NME to becoming one of the most widely reviled columnists in the English language, Julie Burchill is nothing if not interesting, infuriating, illogical, inconsistent and frequently mad.
She's also quite brilliant at what she does.
Having spent her career gleefully slaughtering enough sacred cows to fill her own abattoir, she has made a few enemies along the way, but the reaction to her son's recent suicide shows just how vituperative and spiteful people can be.
Burchill wrote a typically insensitive and mischievous piece about male suicide a few years ago (she was for it, basically) and it would appear that the usual suspects have been waiting in the long grass for a chance to get their own back. So, when she recently wrote about her son's suicide, with the poignant advice to "look after the ones you love, as I tried to and failed", you might have expected a shred of sympathy, even a brief ceasefire, to allow her to grieve. But the socially inadequate bed-wetters of the Twittersphere don't do ceasefires, they live in an endless cycle of spite and malevolence.
Typical of the gloating and exultant mood were comments such as "what goes around comes around" and "if u were OBVIOUSLY a bad mother like Julie Burchill, u have more to blame yourself for when ur son commits suicide".
The sick thing is that you just know the news of her son's suicide will have brightened the day for so many of her detractors.
When you find yourself gloating because someone's kid has killed themselves, you surely know you're on the wrong side of the debate.
With the exception of her brilliant duet with Eminem, 'Love The Way You Lie', I've never had much time for Rihanna. But I have to admit, she's gone up in my estimation.
Her latest video, 'Bitch Better Have My Money', sees her kidnap and torture a white woman because the woman's husband was a crooked accountant who had stolen money from Rihanna.
Or something like that, it's a Rihanna video, for God's sake, not something to be pored over and examined.
But that's exactly what the chin-strokers have been doing as they lather themselves up into a frenzy of fury and righteous indignation over the bad message it sends to tiny, innocent minds.
One Daily Mail columnist went full Outraged From Tunbridge Wells when they declared: "By the time it had finished, I wondered if I ought not to report her to the police. Charges: Pornography, incitement to violence, racial hatred."
Now, apart from the depressing idiocy of a journalist thinking about reporting a singer to the cops because of a risque video - that's a whole other column - don't you feel just a little happier knowing that for all the changes in the world, there are still pop stars out there who have the power to terrify parents? After all, surely that's better than all the family sitting down together to listen to someone like Ed bloody Sheeran...