Thursday 19 September 2019

Carol Nolan: 'The taxpayer must not be forced to pay for the ending of innocent life'

It's morally wrong that taxpayers are being required to fund the provision of abortions

PROTEST: Voters opted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May
PROTEST: Voters opted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May

Carol Nolan

Imagine living in a country where, in the name of women, an unlimited number of the weakest human beings can be killed lawfully for any reason. Imagine the Government also forces you to pay for it. That is what is proposed in the abortion bill which is due to be debated again in Leinster House this week.

The proposed bill places abortions among special categories of health services not to be charged for. Health Minister Simon Harris says he does not want cost to be a barrier. What an artful way of telling us that we should have to pay for the State-sponsored elimination of the most vulnerable. A reminder that it is on this issue that the Government's capacity for spin reaches its greatest heights (or its lowest depths).

We know cost is a barrier to most things, including things that no-one would have a moral objection to paying for, and unfortunately including even forms of medical treatment that some people, including children, actually need. Yet when it comes to the taking of an innocent human life, we are all to be forced to pay for it, in every case and for any reason.

The Government knows this is not what was voted for. Exit polls show even a great many 'yes' voters do not want so extreme a law as this Bill. Moreover, the sections on taxpayer funding for abortions were not even in the bill before the referendum. Conveniently enough, the Government slotted them in only after the vote. A poll conducted since the referendum found that, excluding don't knows, 59pc of adults (including 44pc of 'yes' voters) oppose the taxpayer-funding plan.

People deeply upset by seeing our country become a place where the law provides for lethal discrimination against the most defenceless are to be forced to suffer the added pain of having their taxes fund that discrimination. It is despicable to force people to pay for the infliction of fatal acts on innocent, helpless little human beings. No-one, whether they voted 'yes' or 'no' or abstained, should be put in such an outrageous position.

Absence of taxpayer funding for abortion also saves lives. In June 2017 the British Government announced it would fund abortions for women resident in Northern Ireland. The official report outlining abortion statistics for England and Wales in 2017 notes in paragraph 2.59:

"There has been an increase in the number of women from Northern Ireland having an abortion in England and Wales since the funding announcement. The volume in quarter 3 and quarter 4, 2017, increased by 46pc and 62pc respectively from the same quarters in 2016."

That is no surprise where a State, despite knowing of the deep and enduring hurt it may cause, presents vulnerable women in crisis with a false easy answer and then adds that it is free. A review of numerous peer-reviewed studies in the US has also shown that absence of public funding for abortion reduces abortion rates. The very fact that Minister Harris speaks of cost as a barrier shows that he realises free abortions mean more abortions.

As a matter of common sense, expense reduces the likelihood of something being availed of. When a baby, who would otherwise have died, survives because of cost issues that is a good thing. Who would look at that baby and express regret over the fact that she or he survived because of a cost barrier? Who would look at the baby's mother and say she would be better off if her precious child's life had been extinguished?

We are told the cost of abortions will be a very small percentage of public spending. If the victims were anyone other than unborn children, no such point would ever be raised. It is not much of a point, when 100pc of the cost of abortions will be paid for by taxpayers. We know the real point is not about monetary sums, anyway. It is about life and death and the shocking injustice of actually compelling people to pay for the killing of the most vulnerable.

I have tabled an amendment to the Bill to ensure taxpayers' money is not used to fund abortions, except where there is a risk to the mother's life. The Government should accept this, for the reasons already mentioned and because they promised us that abortion would be rare if legalised here.

How can they make that promise and then reject amendments that have a chance of fulfilling it? How will TDs, whether in Government or opposition, vote on this? Will they force you to pay continuously for the taking of innocent life, and then brazenly come looking for your vote? Or will they have the courage to stand against this outrageous imposition upon citizens? We will soon see.

 

Carol Nolan is an Independent TD representing Offaly

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