Wednesday 7 December 2016

I hear you're a misogynist now, Ireland

The question of who's right about abortion won't be solved with outdated stereotypes, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 25/10/2015 | 02:30

BINARY THINKING: Graham Linehan, writer of the ‘Father Ted’ comedy series, alongside his wife Helen, at an Amnesty International event in Belfast, calling for a change to Ireland’s strict abortion laws
BINARY THINKING: Graham Linehan, writer of the ‘Father Ted’ comedy series, alongside his wife Helen, at an Amnesty International event in Belfast, calling for a change to Ireland’s strict abortion laws
Father Ted

In 2004, Graham Linehan and his wife Helen discovered that the 12-week-old foetus she was carrying had a condition that meant the child would not survive more than an hour after birth. Doctors in England, where the couple were living at the time, advised a termination, and it was carried out soon after.

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Last week they went public with their story as part of Amnesty International's campaign to repeal the eighth amendment, which gives equal weight to the life of mother and child and which denies women whose babies have similar fatal foetal abnormalities the same chance to end the pregnancy at a time of their choosing.

The Linehans spoke movingly about their experience, and deserve every sympathy and support. The way the story subsequently played out, however, has become another exercise in national self-flagellation, to which there seems to be no end.

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