Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuck

There is currently a debate on abortion doing the rounds of the Irish blogosphere, but I don’t intend to get involved.

Mainly because I’m living up to my nickname and sitting on the fence. I don’t believe either side is right, but then again I don’t believe either side is wrong either. Perhaps in methods though, I’m very much against killing to show how precious life is.

But it strikes me that there are certain issues that simply cannot ever be dealt with. I mean if you see abortion as murder then what on earth would persuade you that murder was right? But then there is the issue of when exactly a foetus becomes a person. 12 weeks? implantation. How about when it is 4 cells? It has the potential to be a person but is it a real person? What about the morning after pill? Or condoms, after all they prevent the potential fertilisation don’t they? Hell, even abstaining from sex[1] could be seen as murder, as you are preventing the possible fertilisation and so the potential human being.

So there are these issues that are so divisive that both sides believe themselves to be totally in the right. And both sides feel so strongly that they must persuade the other side how wrong they are. How exactly does a society deal with a problem like that? I know the Irish solution. Pick one side to support, but make sure that the other side has an option, like going to England for example ;)

But it isn’t just abortion. Think of religion[2] and how that can split people. I mean if you believe that god wants you to convert others, that it is the only way to ensure your own salvation, and the salvation of all peoples. Well, if you believed that, then it’d be terrible if you didn’t spread the word. So you travel the world, spreading disease and imposing your values on others, simply because you are firmly convinced that what you are doing is the right thing to do, both for your own sake and for the sake of others.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. Maybe just to say that compromise isn’t always an option.

And of course there is the problem of the people in the middle, who don’t believe strongly in either option as the one true path. You could say that we are just hedging out bets, but would it be better if people who were in the middle were persuaded, so that all we had were two vast opposing ideologies?

I was going to say something about capitalism vs communism, but that is getting into really dangerous ground ;) so I won’t, apart from the fact that both are evil, if taken to extremes. And neither works, not without somesort of a balance. Actually I don’t know if socialism would ever really work, not on a large scale anyways.

Okay, shutting up now. I’ll distract you all by posting….. PUPPIES:

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Linknotes:

  1. just to clarify, I’m not saying that I believe in ANY of this
  2. bloody hell, all the big guns are out in this post

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16 Responses

  1. Alan says:

    And this all relates to James Joyce how? (and aren't you impressed that I recognised the quote?!?)

    Anyway, I will simply say the same thing I have always said when faced with this question. It isn't a question of abortion or no abortion, people who are desperate are going to have abortions one way or the other. So the question is legal abortion or illegal abortion.

    I always recall Clair Rayner, who was a nurse in the fifties, saying that for anyone who, like her, had ever had to clean up the mess made of women by back-street abortionists, that wasn't even a question worth her spit.

  2. Kelly says:

    Yeah, I'm so damn mad I cou… OHHH, look at the puuuuppies!!!!

    Sigh. I'm somewhat of a fence-sitter, also, but not because I don't believe strongly in things. It's just I believe MORE strongly in respecting other people's processes. I mean, most of us think deeply about what we believe in. Who am I to try to change someone's hard-earned opinion? That's just crazy talk. I don't want someone proselytizing me; that just makes me mad. BUT, I don't think in terms of politics, as in changing laws, etc.; that's just not my bent. I'm thinking relationships, which is. I suppose if you want a law enacted, you have to stand up and push for it. But that will never do in personal relationships. I don't know where I'm going with this comment, either, but I… OHHH! Puuuppies!!!

  3. anne says:

    I'm with Alan here. But, just to clarify, I would never, and I mean never, have identified the quote.

  4. NineMoons says:

    Heh. I recognised it straight off, no googling and I even have a witness to stand up for me on it (Fence, you were there!)
    However, just because I started A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man doesn't mean I finished it. And I never even touched Ulysses. Read the excellent Nora Barnacle biog though.

  5. Fence says:

    Very impressed Alan, how it relates? Simply because Joyce was Irish, and the debate is an Irish blogosphere one, and I didn't put any real planning into the post, not quite stream of consciousness I know :) but fairly random.

    Kelly, the puppies worked then?
    But what do you do with people who do want to force their personal belief system on you. Thats the trouble.

    Anne, you are French, I'm sure if it had been Satre you'd have been the first to shout "I know I know" ;)

    NM, you are Irish, you are supposed to know ;)

  6. Is it not more a question of motive? I agree with Alan that, like drugs and prostitution and 1000 other things, people will always find a means to an end. And to that end, as a responsible (or hopefully at some point) society, we need to ensure that, with for example abortions, we provide a safe means. But if we look at the motivations, does that not make the issues a little clearer? If someone has fallen pregnant through no fault of their own, surely the motivation would be beyond question? But if someone chooses to place themselves in a position where pregnancy is a distinct possibilty, if we do disagree with that lifestyle, then surely we address that particular motivation?
    To use an extreme example to make myself a little clearer, if someone attempts suicide, fails, and is left in serious need of medical attention, do we leave them to die because we don't believe suicide is the answer? Of course not. Address the motivation, not the consequence. No one ever escapes the consequences of their actions, whether we see the consequences or not.

  7. Fence says:

    FM, well, as I said, I aint getting in the middle of a debate on abortion, but motivation isn't everything. Terrible things can happen with the best of intent. However, I'd agree that dealing with the problem before it reaches the need for abortion is vital.

    And yes, consequences will always track you down and deal with you then.

  8. Not trying to get into a debate, just adding my 3 cents. I didn't quite mean that terrible things don't happen with the best intentions, but that precisely BECAUSE terrible things do happen with the best of intentions, we cannot neglect to have a proper system set up to deal with the consequences.

    Maybe I'm just grouchy 'cause you still haven't retracted my tomosexual status…..

  9. Fence says:

    You shall always be a tomosexual, we just have to deal with the situation :)

    And yes, I totally agree. Terrible things need to be dealt with no matter how they arise.

    I didn't think you were grouchy, were you grouchy?

  10. Well, not really……

    Was just covering all the bases…….

    And thanks for being so willing to endure my company, despite my shortcomings……

  11. Fence says:

    FM, it is good that you weren't grouchy. Because while we could put up with a tomosexual FM, or indeed a grouchy FM, I don't know if we could cope with a grouchy tomosexual FM

  12. Carl V. says:

    AAHHHHHHH!!!! PUPPIES!!!!! Abort! Abort!

  13. NineMoons says:

    PLEASE tell me that was a pun Carl. PLEASE.

  14. Ann says:

    No! No more pictures of puppies. That is so cute, it hurts. My blood is racing from the sugar infusion. I can't handle it.

    Plus, I want a dog more than anything right now.

  15. Fence says:

    Hi Ann. If you are trying to avoid cuteness I won't direct you to this site, because although it does feature mullets and huge guts, the owner also regularly posts a cuteness buffer :)

    Hope you get your dog soon.