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Wednesday 23 October 2019

It's high time our women politicians spoke up in this never-ending debate

Lise Hand

While expanding upon the church's inevitable adamantine opposition to every part of the Government's abortion legislation on yesterday's 'News at One', Cardinal Sean Brady was speaking of the "sacredness of human life".

He said: "We have a lot of control over our lives, but we do not have ultimate, absolute control over life. We have no control over the moment we come into life, or the moment we leave it. And that's why this has such far-reaching implications."

And he was right, in a way. It's all about control, and always has been.

Since the foundation of the State, the church – until recently in collusion with the State – has fought to control women's lives and their fertility from birth to death.

Mother-and-baby homes, Magdalene Laundries, contraceptive bans, mandatory retirement from the civil service for married women – just some of the ways in which the church-state jackboot was applied to the necks of Irish women for decades as they were denied all sorts of choices: to work or not, to be a mother or not.

Things have improved greatly, of course, but just like peace, equality in Ireland comes dropping slow. Perhaps it's just ingrained fear that has kept our elected female representatives (with the exception of Lucinda Creighton, who, whether one agrees or not with her stance, has shown moxie in taking a position) from wading into this never-ending battle.

For most of them have stayed silently hunkered in the trenches while their male colleagues expound on women's rights.

Time to step up to the plate, sisters.

Irish Independent

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