Dear Feminist Media: Ireland’s Abortion Vote Is No ‘Victory for Women’

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Feminist media in the U.S. are applauding Ireland’s recent vote for abortion as a “victory for women” against “one of the world’s worst anti-abortion regimes.” But their celebration masks the truth: it’s actually a defeat.

On May 25, Irish citizens voted to repeal the country’s Eighth Amendment banning abortion. Since 1983, the amendment located in Ireland’s Constitution emphasized the value of the unborn. It reads:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

But with the Eighth gone, Ireland’s government now plans to push for any abortion up to 12 weeks, according to The Independant and other outlets. Under the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, Ireland originally permitted abortion under only three circumstances: “risk of loss of life from physical illness,” “risk of loss of life from physical illness in emergency,” or “risk of loss of life from suicide.”

According to the feminist media, that wasn’t good enough for women – women already born, that this.

Cosmopolitan editor Hannah Smothers called the repeal of the abortion ban an “overwhelming victory for women,” while an Allure headline similarly celebrated the “Historic Victory for Reproductive Rights.”

Allure deputy editor Sam Escobar found herself speechless and in tears at the news, which she shared with best friends, including one who happened to be an abortion clinic escort. Her reaction was partially because, Escobar revealed, she once had an abortion.

“Because of my privilege, it was not a struggle to seek a doctor, to find a hospital, to tell my then-partner,” she wrote. “But it shouldn’t be a battle for anyone, for any reason.”

For Refinery29, writers Katy Harrington and Andrea González-Ramírez blamed the Eighth for building “one of the world’s worst anti-abortion regimes by giving a fetus the same rights as a woman.” (Assuming, that is, that fetuses can’t be women.)

A Teen Vogue headline celebrated that “Ireland Has Voted to End Its Restrictive Abortion Ban.” Editor De Elizabeth stressed that the “vote is the first important step in a momentous change for Ireland.”

Even before the final vote was counted, Bustle writer Chris Tognotti announced “encouraging news for supporters of women’s reproductive rights.” And before the vote began, Glamour editor-in-chief Samantha Berry, originally from Cork, announced “If I was home I would vote to #repealthe8th.”

Along with feminist media, the networks also applauded the “historic” vote as a win for “women’s rights.” And big-name celebrities, from Liam Neeson (Taken) to Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), used the same talking point: abortion is good and necessary for (born) women.

But not everyone agreed – even if some media reported otherwise. Women championing the pro-life movement in the United States and in Ireland disagreed, including Abigail Malone. As press secretary of Save the 8th, which fought to keep the abortion ban, Malone argued that abortion does nothing for women.

As a “young Irish woman,” she stressed she was “sick and tired of being told that without the right to kill, and without the right to take a human life, I am somehow not equal.” She called out Ireland’s Minister for Health, Simon Harris, for supporting abortion and, at the same time, saying he “wanted to help women.”

“If Simon Harris has his way, this country will have abortion clinics before it has properly-funded rape crisis centers,” she said. “If Simon Harris has his way, pregnant women will have the right to take an innocent life, but not the right to have a roof over their heads.”

She criticized Together for Yes, a group backing the repeal, for supporting the abortion of babies with disabilities before Ireland “even has proper services for babies and children with disabilities,” and called out Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for supporting 13,000 abortions each year “before anything is done for the 13,000 children on waiting lists in hospitals all across Ireland.”

“This is not a proposal designed to help women,” she concluded. “It is an excuse, in fact, to do nothing else to help women.”

That’s likely because she, unlike many in the feminist media, recognizes the harm abortions can cause women who have them. That’s also likely because she sees women in the womb as human persons – individuals created in the image and likeness of God.

And a true women’s movement should do exactly that: include all women, especially society’s most vulnerable. Be a voice for all women, especially the voiceless.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Katie Yoder serves as the associate culture editor at NewsBusters and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. She is also the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for the Media Research Center’s culture division. Follow her on Twitter @k_yoder.

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