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Why so litle actual mainstream public reaction to the government's decision to legislate?


TommyO'Brien

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Jan 14, 2009
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Firstly, this is in current affairs simply because it ranges across politics, media and other issues.

Secondly, This is NOT about the substantive issue of abortion and whether it is good or bad. This is ENTIRELY about the public response. So could we (please) discuss the reaction and NOT the substantive issue. (Some hope I know. But it is worth asking.)

OK. Here goes.

I have been rather surprised at the lack of public reaction to the government's decision on the X case. While the hardcore has reacted as they always do (from the pro-life Ronan Mullen/David Quinn/Catholic priests side to the National Women's Council/Ivana Bacik/pro-choice side) with their standard reactions (i) fury, (ii) outrage, (iii) accusations) the middle ground has been astonishingly quiet.

Take a couple of examples.

Local radio attracts 50% of the audience. Its phone-in shows are big business. They follow national stories in detail. Yet local radio talk in show had a quite muted response to the government decision. Some stations expected to have tons of calls from 'angry housewife from the midlands'/'furious Mass going Catholic'/'Joe the ordinary man who is outraged' types - the standard fare of local radio.

Stations in many cases had their programmes ready for the wall-to-wall fury reaction.

It didn't happen. Hardly anyone called in.

Some of the stations ended up, if you will pardon the expression, aborting their plans to discuss the issue when they got a reaction of 'meh' to the issue and people were more concerned with economic or other issues.

Ditto on Liveline. People who remember the last abortion debates will remember Liveline jammered with calls on the issue. Yet callers wanted to talk about other issues, not abortion.

I remember in the past during major controversies you would overhear people talking about the issues on buses, in shops, everywhere. When we had big controversies in recent years texts would be flying around. Facebook would be talking about it. Ditto with twitter.

Yet today I didn't hear a SINGLE person anywhere mention the issue. It seems to me that other than the hardcore on each side most people aren't tuned into it.

In fact I heard more mentions of Rylan on X-Factor than the government's decision on abortion today!!!

So why is this?

Is it that we are all focused on the economy?

Is it, as someone I was talking to about the lack of reaction suggested, because the pro-life side have had so many referendums and so many controversies that people on the ground are fed up with the issue and just blank it when it comes up - a kind of crying wolf: that the pro-life side has predicted so many times that every vote and every decision would bring in abortion on demand only for it not to happen that they no longer are listened to?

Is the lack of interest reflective of a collapse in religious belief and so a concern with what religious people perceive as life and death issues to do with morality?

Is it that society thinks the legislation should have been enacted long ago and don't see the reason for the controversy?

What is your explanation for the silence?
 

sondagefaux

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Because the mouth-breathing foaming lunatics present during previous debates are now mainly dead?
 

bluefirelog

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Yeah, I remember really passionate debates about abortion between students when I was still in college and it was still topical. We would talk on both sides for hours. I haven't discussed it recently with any of my friends. The only thing we discussed was how awful it was that that poor woman in Galway died. Nobody wants a repeat of that situation. I think a lot has changed in Ireland since the late 80s/early 90s.
 

owedtojoy

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Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
45,584
Firstly, this is in current affairs simply because it ranges across politics, media and other issues.

Secondly, This is NOT about the substantive issue of abortion and whether it is good or bad. This is ENTIRELY about the public response. So could we (please) discuss the reaction and NOT the substantive issue. (Some hope I know. But it is worth asking.)

OK. Here goes.

I have been rather surprised at the lack of public reaction to the government's decision on the X case. While the hardcore has reacted as they always do (from the pro-life Ronan Mullen/David Quinn/Catholic priests side to the National Women's Council/Ivana Bacik/pro-choice side) with their standard reactions (i) fury, (ii) outrage, (iii) accusations) the middle ground has been astonishingly quiet.

Take a couple of examples.

Local radio attracts 50% of the audience. Its phone-in shows are big business. They follow national stories in detail. Yet local radio talk in show had a quite muted response to the government decision. Some stations expected to have tons of calls from 'angry housewife from the midlands'/'furious Mass going Catholic'/'Joe the ordinary man who is outraged' types - the standard fare of local radio.

Stations in many cases had their programmes ready for the wall-to-wall fury reaction.

It didn't happen. Hardly anyone called in.

Some of the stations ended up, if you will pardon the expression, aborting their plans to discuss the issue when they got a reaction of 'meh' to the issue and people were more concerned with economic or other issues.

Ditto on Liveline. People who remember the last abortion debates will remember Liveline jammered with calls on the issue. Yet callers wanted to talk about other issues, not abortion.

I remember in the past during major controversies you would overhear people talking about the issues on buses, in shops, everywhere. When we had big controversies in recent years texts would be flying around. Facebook would be talking about it. Ditto with twitter.

Yet today I didn't hear a SINGLE person anywhere mention the issue. It seems to me that other than the hardcore on each side most people aren't tuned into it.

In fact I heard more mentions of Rylan on X-Factor than the government's decision on abortion today!!!

So why is this?

Is it that we are all focused on the economy?

Is it, as someone I was talking to about the lack of reaction suggested, because the pro-life side have had so many referendums and so many controversies that people on the ground are fed up with the issue and just blank it when it comes up - a kind of crying wolf: that the pro-life side has predicted so many times that every vote and every decision would bring in abortion on demand only for it not to happen that they no longer are listened to?

Is the lack of interest reflective of a collapse in religious belief and so a concern with what religious people perceive as life and death issues to do with morality?

Is it that society thinks the legislation should have been enacted long ago and don't see the reason for the controversy?

What is your explanation for the silence?
Maybe we have just grown up as a nation.

"Irish solutions to Irish problems" and "Shure, we'll have none of your ould abortion here" are not equal to the reality of Irish life any more.
 

PeeBee

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401
Just wondering Are all sides in the current debate, regarding the status of the 'unborn', ignoring the 'elephant in the room', namely the real implications arising from the 8th Amendment? Surely the X Case, the A,B,C and D cases (not to mention the tragic recent events in UHG) should place a large question mark over the ambiguities arising from Sec. 40.3.3 of our Constitution? In other words, is the constitutional provision set ot in 40.3.3 fit for purpose?

No matter how cleverly we try to construct legislation bounded by the current constitutional position, it is highly probable that failure to address the root problems created by Article 40.3.3° will result in the 'sword of Damocles' falling at some future date.

Are we afraid to face up to (yet) another referendum to ‘settle’ the issues raised by the 8th Amendment and subsequent fallouts? For my own part, I am not qualified to answer my own question but remain disappointed that our politicians, media and general commentariat have, in the main, failed to grasp the real nettle. Are we, yet again, to bequeath this dilemma to generations as yet unborn? Shame on us for our moral cowardice!



In conclusion, let me declare my own position. I am frightened by the polarisation of Irish society on this issue. Extremist views, on both ends of the spectrum, do not, I believe, reflect the true humanity and compassion of the majority of thinking people who seek to grapple with the complexities of life and death. However, if my view represents the 'middle ground', and I believe it does, I want to be informed by all shades of opinion, other than those who would seek to impose their dogmata - sacred or secular - by dictate. Just because the problem is difficult does not mean it should not be addressed.


PeeBee
 

Protestant/Catholic=Irish

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You're mad for threads about abortion that aren't meant to debate abortion :)
 
Last edited:

lying eyes

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People are not really concerned with this subject, they have other things on their minds.
I think the Goverment can do as it wants with referance to this subject with the proviso of, not allowing abortion on demand . Of course the usual pro and anti will shout and roar at each other, whats new......
 

pedagogus

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Yeah, I remember really passionate debates about abortion between students when I was still in college and it was still topical. We would talk on both sides for hours. I haven't discussed it recently with any of my friends. The only thing we discussed was how awful it was that that poor woman in Galway died. Nobody wants a repeat of that situation. I think a lot has changed in Ireland since the late 80s/early 90s.
Yes, I have had the same experience in my staff room.During previous referenda on this topic there were impassioned exchanges.Now, even though I might be sitting there with the I.T's banner headlines on the table in front of me, we discuss sport, the budget, the possibility of pay-cuts etc. We never mention it by unspoken agreement. I think we are all emotionally exhausted by the topic and have no simple solutions.
 

McTell

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No
Because there's nothing to discuss until a Bill is drafted / voted on? The issues have been well aired by now, so we are "in a hiatus".
 

TommyO'Brien

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Yes, I have had the same experience in my staff room.During previous referenda on this topic there were impassioned exchanges.Now, even though I might be sitting there with the I.T's banner headlines on the table in front of me, we discuss sport, the budget, the possibility of pay-cuts etc. We never mention it by unspoken agreement. I think we are all emotionally exhausted by the topic and have no simple solutions.
That may be the case.

I remember all the referendums on abortion. By the 2002 referendum the country seemed to be sick to death of the issue. There seemed to be a feeling of "let this be the end of referendums on it. We are all abortioned out." I remember in the mid 2000s some pro-lifer on TV called for a new referendum. The reaction among my flatmates and work colleagues was the same "Oh Christ no. Anything but that." The pro-lifers may well have created a backlash against themselves because their original amendment had led to so many other follow-up referendums to deal with the consequences.

Nevertheless I have been quite surprised at the complete lack of interest this time. Abortion was always one of the most emotive topics. It would immediately generate up emotions about killing babies or letting women die or something. This time there seems to be little interest outside the hardcore campaigners on both sides.
 

pedagogus

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That may be the case.

I remember all the referendums on abortion. By the 2002 referendum the country seemed to be sick to death of the issue. There seemed to be a feeling of "let this be the end of referendums on it. We are all abortioned out." I remember in the mid 2000s some pro-lifer on TV called for a new referendum. The reaction among my flatmates and work colleagues was the same "Oh Christ no. Anything but that." The pro-lifers may well have created a backlash against themselves because their original amendment had led to so many other follow-up referendums to deal with the consequences.

Well, as another poster has suggested people will get a second wind when they see the actual proposals. The suicide issue concerns many because of a , admittedly remote ,possibility of it being abused in the way the psychiatric provisions of the 1967 act in Britain were.I was surprised when it was stated that up to 80% of the 200,000 British abortions are on mental grounds.

Nevertheless I have been quite surprised at the complete lack of interest this time. Abortion was always one of the most emotive topics. It would immediately generate up emotions about killing babies or letting women die or something. This time there seems to be little interest outside the hardcore campaigners on both sides.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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This hasn't even begun yet, I don't think anyone, or most anyone has a problem with the government legislating. If on the other hand that legislation contains threat of suicide as a pretext to gaining an abortion on demand then you will see a major reaction.

The issue is and always has been threat of suicide, not legislating on the remainder.

And Shatter can say what he likes, I can't see Kenny letting him legislate on suicide.
 

breakingnews

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I think I'm right in saying that only 53% showed up to vote in the 1983 referendum, so I suppose it doesn't exercise people as much as we'd think.

It's still seems to be a taboo subject with friends of mine unwilling to give any opinion on it! Get off the fence ffs.
 

Tea Party Patriot

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I think I'm right in saying that only 53% showed up to vote in the 1983 referendum, so I suppose it doesn't exercise people as much as we'd think.

It's still seems to be a taboo subject with friends of mine unwilling to give any opinion on it! Get off the fence ffs.
It is not a subject that I would discuss with any of my friends. It is as I am sure all here would agree divisive. The one thing I would say though from my experience is that there are a lot more younger people opposed to abortion that you might think, they just don't discuss it all that openly.
 

pedagogus

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This hasn't even begun yet, I don't think anyone, or most anyone has a problem with the government legislating. If on the other hand that legislation contains threat of suicide as a pretext to gaining an abortion on demand then you will see a major reaction.

The issue is and always has been threat of suicide, not legislating on the remainder.

And Shatter can say what he likes, I can't see Kenny letting him legislate on suicide.
You may well be right re the suicide issue.It isn't unreasonable to have concerns about it being abused as the mental health provisions of the British 1967 Abortion Act have been. I was astonished to hear that up to 80% of the 200,000 abortions in Britain were on such grounds. Dr. Anthony Clare has spoken about it, I believe, as a scam.
 

dresden8

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Has the government decided to legislate?

Been MIA for a while. Where's the link?
 

Tea Party Patriot

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You may well be right re the suicide issue.It isn't unreasonable to have concerns about it being abused as the mental health provisions of the British 1967 Abortion Act have been. I was astonished to hear that up to 80% of the 200,000 abortions in Britain were on such grounds. Dr. Anthony Clare has spoken about it, I believe, as a scam.
It is a pretty damning statistic, although there is another loophole in the British legislation as well that is also abused, that is the one on health as opposed to life. Technically a woman who is pregnant has risks to her health by default that a woman who is not pregnant does not have, some doctors there apparently use this as justification for abortion.
 

theObserver@hotmail.com

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On the right we have the roman church and on the left we have the equally loony postmodern feminists. I'm tired of listening to both groups.
 

brughahaha

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Ermmm the Government hasn't definitively decided to legislate .... Even though we know they have no choice
"The Taoiseach said that prior to the Dáil going into recess for Christmas “the Government will make its view known, arising from those discussions and our own views, regarding which option it decides to pursue”."
Kenny seeks to defuse row - The Irish Times - Wed, Nov 28, 2012

So a very presumptive and silly OP...nothing has been decided yet
 

TommyO'Brien

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It is a pretty damning statistic, although there is another loophole in the British legislation as well that is also abused, that is the one on health as opposed to life. Technically a woman who is pregnant has risks to her health by default that a woman who is not pregnant does not have, some doctors there apparently use this as justification for abortion.
This thread is not about abortion. It is about the public's reaction to the government announcement. There are tons of threads on the substantive issue.
 
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