Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why I am Pro-Choice

These are strange and dark times in Ye Olde Catholic Republic of Ireland.

Due to our draconian and unclear abortion laws we have facilitated the death of a 30 something year old healthy Hindu woman from India. She came her to work and to start a family. When her pregnancy turned into a miscarriage she and her husband begged hospital staff repeatedly to terminate the pregnancy to prevent further distress and risk to her life. They refused and/or hesitated because the heartbeat of the dying foetus was still present. In their mixed and ill-informed opinion she was not at the level of risk our Constitution and medical guidelines say is necessary to justify and abortion. They were afraid of prosecution under out-dated laws, and unclear constitutional provisions. She died of blood poisoning due to this delay and hand-wringing over a lack of clarity created by the dithering and failure of 6 successive governments to legislate for the X case.

Abortion, it is said by some, is the third rail of Irish Politics. Well it's live and sparking, and our elected leaders are running from it in every which way they can.

One TD is so aware of her job that she actually doesn't think Legislation is necessary, her job as a legislator seemingly escaping her.

Our Glorious and venerated leader, European Man of the year, Savoir of the Debt Crises, according to Time Magazine (Europe edition), is so afraid of it that he "will not be rushed" by "force of Numbers". Force of Numbers, in any working Democratic Republic is actually the will of the People. But because the new Moral Majority of Ireland does not have Bank shares or a Lobby we are apparently not worth listening to.

I wrote in the title to this post "Why am I Pro-Choice", well I will tell you why.

I was adopted. My natural Mother and Father were a college couple in the Recession of the late 80s. They couldn't afford me or see any alternative, a boat to the UK out of the question in their case. So I, Like my older sister (also adopted) were taken in by a loving family and raised with the best of intentions. We had a privileged upbringing, several au pairs over the years, education in a Multi-Denominational Primary and 2 well known Dublin single-sex Private schools. Our Primary school was so progressive (in an Irish way) that the land was bought from Nuns for a Pound, a Greek Orthodox church used to share the grounds with us in the early years and the Parents fought tooth and nail (not Literally) to let it's children hold Communion in Rathmines Cathedral. I was different to my sister however, Church bored me, I didn't "buy" it. From a young age I chose not to take part in Religion and this was respected.

In my teenage years my Private school held a Protestant prayer at assemblies, I would sit Upright and grin and bare it. As any ill-informed teenager I frequently was abrasive and ignorant with my nascent atheism  I would get into arguments I'd never win, dig myself holes with little or no escape. I eventually learned through trial and error that it didn't matter what others believed, Science was my basis of understanding for much of reality, and just like good research my Views must change on the basis of evidence over time. I slowly switched to by agnostic and have not looked back. I find Fanatical/Anti-Religion Atheism as a futile and silly effort by many, let those who embrace abstract concepts of Higher Powers believe what they want.

However it is in the separation of Church and state that I will say that Religion has no place in the affairs of others. In Ireland law and public thought has been directed by the Catholic Church and other churches to a lesser extent since its foundation. Our Constitution explicitly holds Roman Catholicism as a faith held by many with a special place in our Culture. Poppycock by today's standards. These days due to the abuses by the Church in education, health care and forms of slavery and penal detention the population of Ireland is rejecting practising religion faster than most other nations. This is not to say they are now God-less, but they have less and less respect for the institutions that have so utterly failed them, and insulted them through-out the existence of this state.

I went to college, briefly, and studied Nursing for 3 years. During my time there I spent a lot of time with predominantly female friends, all with various levels of sexual activity and religious belief. I had a relationship with a strictly Protestant girl during this time and always wore protection, and at some considerable shared cost. I also studied and worked on placement on Obstetrics/ Gynaecology wards, Paediatric ward and time in the HIV/Hep C ward and it's associated STD Clinic. I saw a lot of the mixed and diverse ways Irish Citizens and those who live here, go about exploring and expressing their Sexuality and pursuing a family life.

Sex education is minimal and limited in our society. Safe sex is also not as well informed or practised as is necessary to insure the health and safety of our populace. Condoms are taxed heavily, and although a lot more available than they were only 20 years ago, are still a taboo or seen as restrictive and a nuisance by a petulant and stubborn male population who shy from responsibility, not unlike our government.

Women are still stigmatised for carrying condoms, for protecting their own safety and for accessing "The Pill" and other forms of Contraception. It is common place, but still our society is not passed the levels of persecution and misogyny recently witnessed in the United States and their war on Women.

Here in Ireland we have a moral war of ignorance of sexuality, sexual Liberation and the freedom to be Human. There are many long lasting struggles for recognition that are not fully resolved, but part of accepting a diverse array of lifestyles in this Republic is access to family planning and reproductive health Services Publicly and Privately.

The "State" is receiving some the same apathy and distrust from our populace as the Church and associated institutions. We have lost 2% of our population over the past 5 years to Emigration, Poverty and suicide.

It is hard to see after 20 years of struggle how the Women of this country can have their rights to an Abortion or fair family planning listened to when our government is so Blinded by devastating our economy and society in other areas.

The narrow set of circumstance's that the majority of voters supported for Abortion in this country some 20 years ago are still, as narrow, today. However they lack legislation. And thanks to Right wing Lobby groups, Domestic and in some cases Foreign influenced or funded, this has stayed the case for 20 years. All parties afraid of upsetting the Right wing vote in what is still a very conservative country.

I however don't believe in such restrictive Abortion access or family planning services.

I believe Condoms should be cheaper and far more easily available.

I believe various forms of Female contraception should be available upon request from your GP.

I believe the Morning After Pill Should be available in Pharmacies equipped with Consultation rooms upon request.

I believe that women who become pregnant, planed or not, should be able to seek advice, support, counselling and full family planning services here in Ireland. There should not be no hopping on a flight to the UK in a crises. Adoption services should not be a last resort for Troubled families, but a viable option from the start for Women and Families who may not be able to support another child. Abortion is another option within  Reproductive health services and should be there to protect people and aid them in controlling their Family planning and fertility options.

I do not feel that we can let our current state of services continue based on the Moral arguments of a decreasing minority. A minority who have a direct line to our leaders and our elites, are part of a list of go-to commentators for our broadcasters and publishers. Their grip on the status quo is dangerous for the health of Women and our society, and the time has come for their hegemony to be challenged.

I also believe that Human Life begins when a Baby is born and can eventually breath, eat and excrete without medical assistance. A developing Human life that through a safe and supportive environment can mature into an Adult human. If a Human can go about life meeting several of it's activities of daily living with minimal assistance and with dignity, than it is a Human and should be afford the rights there-in. To me a fertilised embryo, and a Foetus are but a developmental stage before the existence of Human Life. They are to my mind a Seed before they are a Tree. They deserve protection and advocacy as potential life, but it is up to the Mother or Surrogate to decide what is best for their health and well being, without interference from outside influences. This developing collection of cells also deserves  protection from discrimination based on Sex and disability, but its existence does not trump the life of the person with a womb.

When you deny an abortion to a poor woman, or a women in an abusive/controlling relationship you increase her risk of further poverty, of suicide and put undue burdens on the child and even poorly funded charities and state services. When you deny Abortion to an immigrant woman who can not leave this country, work, or deny the marital bed to her husband you put further burden on their family. When you deny the existence of Trans-Women's right to fertility or access to abortion, you deny their gender identity and right to a family life of their own. When you restrict a Student deep in debt, with poor career prospects in a recession, in a society that still lacks pay parity, affordable child care or mandatory maintenance from the other parent, you restrict that Persons rights to decide their own future, to choose their career and choose when to start a family.

To further pretend there are no Irish Abortions, is to restrict the rights of Women and limit the growth and choices of many in our society. There are Irish abortions, they just don't happen here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A rush of prose to my head (Return to blogging Part 1)

After yet another extended absence my mind has returned to a lyrical, analytical and fantasising self.

I have been in the doldrums of unemployment or other factors that I have allowed to hold myself back for nearly 4 years. Amongst all that time I've had highs and lows, 3 months ago there was a lot of low.

For the past 5 weeks I've had a pretty well paying job that was always going to be seasonal and temporary, but it has given me something to do, it has given me the fuel to drive myself and my thoughts and I know now, more than I did this time last year that I want to hold on to this.

I know that doing something, anything, and being paid for it is far far better than sitting at home and fighting my mind, fighting my own self doubt and generally not fighting for more than my selfish self preservation.  I see that my perpetual pursuit of staying a low social impact individual who shied from the world, sabotaged what didn't feed that self interest, or engage me to think about my interests or the world beyond myself.
I've always been a caring person, but I've cared more about my self gratification and least painful path trough life far to often. 

However, all to often when I notice these faults I find them hard to push through, to change my behaviour and to actually develop as a person. I no way by saying I'm more focused or that my mind is more active, to I think I have turned a cliché.  

I still spend too much money on silly things when I do have it, it's hard to save like I had been over the past 6 months; all of which was spent within the first week 1/2 I was back in work. The main silly thing is my new laptop. I'm finally back computing, yay! However I have found it hard to control my old habits, I can't use all the old websites I used, not if I want to sleep and be alert in work. I still have a lot of saving of my old data to still do, but for now I've slowly been rebuilding on-line socialising. Planning what I hope to do in my impending unemployment computer wise has been strange. Now I can write, now I can send off CVs without the excuse of not having a laptop. I can talk to friends, I can explore ideas and consume multiple media, and I will have to ration all that returned freedom.

Here's a small snippet of evidence my mind is now a lot more creative, now that I'm more stable/ happy/ in funds:

The sheen of Autumn sun on asphalt just looks perverse, dotted with single occupied monsters, all with little respect for Earth :'(

The lost tired and forlorn travellers,  the boisterous and jolly revellers  all passing those jet lagged w/ no energy, and yet another émigré

Landscaped shrubs, and newly planted bulbs, fluffy rabbits and dirty human habits, all by the wayside as cattle sulk airside

3 Tweets that I came up with during a moment of clarity when my bus arrived at Dublin Airport. Not exactly the most talented of poetry, but I think I'm waking up. I think I'm properly on the mend, and I think I have a hell of a lot more to say and things to do to become myself and to stick with it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Speak Liberal

"No candidate gets to run in my
district without speaking to my
issues" - From an anecdote by Sam Seaborn in the West Wing.

This is a Philosophy I believe in.

In The Republic of Ireland, Right now in 2012, in the deep recesses of the Trioka Bailout program, 5 or so years into a recession, I fail frequently to find politicians or public figures that align with my Political views or beliefs.

I am Tired of the Apathy that we Irish have towards the state of our Political and Civil spheres. I am tired that power is only achievable with A Degree, a High paying Job and the sort of Selfish Personality that seeks Power above the well being of fellow humans.

I may not be a perfect human. I will frequently concede that I can be a  hypocrite. I feel that the nature of my "left" leaning Political beliefs, and my Human Rights, Afford me the ability to be flexible and adaptive in what I believe and support from day to day.

I started the Hash Tag #SpeakLiberal on Twitter specifically to speak to the issues and Political ideologies that I Support, and I hope other Irish People also support.

The Intention of #SpeakLiberal is to get people who believe in any number of Liberal/Progressive issue's to come together and organise towards Political Office without a larger intent to Divide Other political Parties base support, Seek Power, or Seek to make a career in Politics. The Naive aim of #SpeakPolitics is to form a New Political party / Action Group towards Promoting a More Progressive Agenda in Irish Current Affairs.

I would like #SpeakLiberal to Provide the outlet for people's Concerns at the Ballot box. I would like to see the Members and supporters of whatever Political Party forms from this Initiative have Political representatives answerable to the will of the Party, It's agreed issues and Legislative agenda's.  I Would like those elected by #SpeakLiberal to be elected to Local and National Levels to Bring forth Debate, Amendments and Legislation which is developed by the Public/Supporters/Membership towards Enhancing and Protecting the Human Rights and Well being of the People of Ireland.

If it's not to Much to Ask, I would Like to See Accountable Direct Democracy that helps frame National Debate on Issue's that affect the Citizens of the Irish Republic as it Stands.

#SpeakLiberal Is Open to all, it will be shaped and made by those who want to use it. I do not seek to Be A President or Major Voice in this movement. I do not seek to have a veto or final word on what #SpeakLiberal becomes. As Long as a consensus is reached, and the People of Ireland and the World Benefit in Some way from the Actions of #SpeakLiberal, then I will not Impede it's Progress.

In the Near Future, I Hope, With the Support of Others #SpeakLiberal can Hold initial Meetings to declare a political Party and the issue's which should be covered.

Top of the Agenda is Protecting UN Human Rights, The European Charter for Human Rights, and Inequalities in Irish Society.

You Can Contact me at:
                                     Twitter: @HugoFitzpatrick

There will Soon be a Dedicated Twitter account and Email for #SpeakLiberal