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Abortion in Argentina: From Catholic Hegemony to Practical Secularity

category international | gender and sexuality | feature author Wednesday October 10, 2007 17:23author by R.E. Silvera - Choice Ireland (personal capacity) Report this post to the editors

A country with a parallel history to Ireland's moves slowly towards legalisation

featured image
"The Right to Choose About Our Own Bodies"

The Republic of Argentina shares many sociohistorical parallels with the Republic of Ireland. Both have been traditionally conservative, christian nations, with the Roman Catholic Church having a privileged position of power in all areas of public life. Even so, due to massive demonstrations and strong activist commitment, coupled with horrifying stories which came to the attention of the press, it became impossible for the government to stay impassive any longer. While abortion hasn't become legal in Argentina, this article will explore its history, the parallels with Ireland, and recent developments which may be opening the way for safe and legal abortion in the South American nation.

Abortion in Argentina: From Catholic Hegemony to Practical Secularity

Ireland and Argentina share a host of historical similarities. Both nations emerged from colonial ruling through wars of independence, and found themselves subsequently undergoing tremendous social change. The main religious faith in both nations has been the Roman Catholic Church, and thus a conservative tradition has been followed in the two Republics. Moreover, there has been a recent upswing of neo-liberal economic policies, which were welcomed in the two countries after decades of stagnation. With these parallels in mind, it is important we consider the Argentinian case from the Irish perspective.

Among Latin American nations, The Republic of Argentina has not historically been a progressive state. It found itself at its most conservative 30 years ago, when under the grip of a brutal military dictatorship, which had the blessing of the local Catholic hierarchy.

In the aftermath of the dictatorship, millions still adhered to the faith, but just as many questioned whether the institution was divorced from the belief system. Priests who had attempted to protect people were ignored by the hierarchy, who ingratiated themselves with those in power, and collaborated with repressive activities. These situations, added to many notorious cases of sexual abuse within the clergy, fostered a situation that still exists today. According to Reader's Digest Argentina, very few people want to be ordained as priests, and while recent polls show 80% of Argentinians are baptized Catholics, only 18% of those admitted to attending mass regularly. The prevailing view, Reader's Digest quotes, is one of faith without institutionalisation. These events mirror, to a degree, the historical situation of Ireland and the Catholic Church, with mass attendance and ordination of priests equally in sharp decline.

It is unsurprising, then, that popular legislative proposals would occur at a time when the Church's power is in question. Argentina and Ireland both saw, firstly, a legalisation of divorce, the former ratified in 1987, the latter voted for in 1995 and enacted in 1997. Ever since then, the focus has shifted to other civil rights issues, including a woman’s right to choose.

During the 1990s, Argentina was ruled by a neoliberal strand of the Partido Justicialista, also known as the Peronist Party, presided by Carlos Saúl Menem. That government enacted economic policies very similar to those of present-day Ireland. Similarly to Ireland, the government aimed not to rock the boat too much with risky legislative moves. Hence, they provided assurances to the Holy See that abortion would not be legalised, going as far as declaring March 25th "Day of the Unborn Child". Subsequent governments didn't act on the issue. Although illegal, abortions were performed by physicians, under very restrictive circumstances, often requiring the patient to obtain a court order that would authorise the procedure. This was due to the unclear nature of the legislation in case of rape, or risk to the mother's life.

The election of Nestor Kirchner to the presidency in 2003 began a sweeping tide of reform, despite Kirchner's affiliation to the Peronist Party. In 2005, his appointed Health Minister, Ginés González García, declared his support for full legalisation of abortion, coupled with his endorsement of a programme of free sex education and contraception distribution. Moreover, 2005 also saw the appointment of the first female judge to the Supreme Court of Justice, Carmen Argibay, who has also stated her support for the legalisation of terminations within the Republic. In a recent response to attacks from the Catholic Church, who claimed there was "an uncontrolled rush for abortion", Minister González García stated:

"Intolerance has many ways of showing itself, and this is one of the worst kinds. It is against the law, as well as an attempt to force a person to be a mother, simply because some people consider their religious ideas must be shared by everyone." (Página/12 [1])

The current situation is one where the government is taking slow, careful steps, yet doing so with seeming certainty of purpose. Abortion remains illegal, but it is considered "non-punishable" in cases of rape, mental illness, or where the pregnant woman's life is in danger. The key difference with the Irish situation is that, while abortion is indeed legal for such cases unlike Argentina, the main regulator body for medical licenses regards abortion as malpractice. While President Kirchner has not condoned either side, many of his apointees are supporting a progressive pro-choice agenda. The government of the Province of Buenos Aires, the most populous area of the nation, has announced a plan to issue guidelines regarding terminations to doctors, clarifying requirements as well as proper procedures. The Ministry of Health, similarly, announced a programme of revision of the Penal Code, which will make the legal situation clear, and furthermore work towards the legalisation. (Pagina/12 [2])

These are first steps, and by no means final. The Catholic Hierarchy along with many other so-called pro-life organisations have mounted a legal defense against the legalisation of abortion, based on ideas of the right to life. Their main argument is that the Constitution defends the life of all Argentinians, including the unborn, and the Constitution supercedes the Penal Code. However, popular support for their side seems to be waning, as more and more personal stories reach the mass media, and suspicion is rampant regarding the institution of the Catholic Church. During a recent demonstration celebrating the "Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion", Vanina Biasi, of the Polo Obrero worker's rights group, stated:

"For the last 80 years, abortion has been allower partially in Argentina, and for the last five they have been persecuting women who seek non-punishable abortions, protected by law. Because of this, we demand the enforcement of the Penal Code, and the legalisation of this medical practice." (Pagina/12 [3])

It is important, then, to remember that the struggle to recognise a woman’s right to choose is still ongoing in Argentina, despite positive developments. A woman seeking an abortion will usually be turned away by the public health system, unless their life is in danger, and few can afford the specialist treatment offered by the nation’s myriad private clinics. Many then seek backstreet abortions, which are incredibly unsafe, and as recently as last Sunday a woman was reportedly dead after subjecting herself to such a procedure in the northern Argentinian city of Salta (Indymedia [1]). Approximately two women died every day due to backstreet abortions, according to a 2004 news report from Women on Waves.

As it is now, however, the Argentinian situation seems to at least feature the political will to address the issue of abortion, unlike the current administration in the Republic of Ireland. It is of the uttermost importance that such a pivotal issue of civil rights begins to take part in the national political debate, and that steps are taken to legislate for abortion in the Republic of Ireland.



[1] "The Archdiocese's New Crusade", published on the 25th of September, 2007 at
[2] "To Quell All Doubt", published on the 10th of September, 2007 located at
[3] "Demonstration Demands the Decriminalization of Abortion", published on the 29th of September, 2007 located at

-Reader's Digest Argentina
[1] "What do we Believe in? Seven out of ten respondents consider themselves religious, but only 21% of them practice it." obtained from

-Indymedia Argentina:
[1]" Woman in Salta Dies after Subjecting Herself to a Clandestine Abortion", published on October 09th, 2007 at

-Women on Waves
"Stir in Argentina", December 2004, located at

Further Information:
Catholics for the Right to Choose:

Abortion in Argentina:
Human Rights Watch - Abortion in Argentina:
Expanding Access to Abortion - Strategies for Action:

Related Link:

"Church, you Trash, you are the Dictatorship". Graffiti makes reference to the Church's collaboration with state terrorism.
"Church, you Trash, you are the Dictatorship". Graffiti makes reference to the Church's collaboration with state terrorism.

author by botpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 00:43Report this post to the editors

really interesting article - thanks - was unaware about the parallels between ireland and argentina

author by C Murraypublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:05Report this post to the editors

The indymedia centre in Argentina also has the site 'Pan Y Rosas', which is the Argentinian
Women's movement for change.

The declaration is at:-
The page does not have a translator but the google list for the site has a babelfish translator
button, which renders the page in English.

It's worth using the babelfish [Translate this page] facility to read how women in other countries
are seeking positive change for their sisters and daughters. Nice article!

Pan y Rosas front page.
Pan y Rosas front page.

author by Matt Dpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:01Report this post to the editors

"Intolerance has many ways of showing itself, and this is one of the worst kinds. It is against the law, as well as an attempt to force a person to be a mother, simply because some people consider their religious ideas must be shared by everyone." Minister González García

What else is new? In Argentina some people also try to muddy the waters by making abortion a
religious issue. It isn't.
It is primarily an issue of human rights, which should be independent of any religious beliefs.

Incidentally, other major religions also oppose abortion but only the RC church is singled out
for attack. I suppose it's killing two birds with one stone.

author by R.E. Silverapublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:16Report this post to the editors

The reason why the Roman Catholic Church figures prominently in the article is its historical prominence in Argentinian and Irish society. This is why I focused on it almost exclusively. It is the majority religion in both countries, and has been the only religion allowed into the circles of power as an institution in both nations (aside from non-catholic individuals being in a position of power, but they were there as themselves, not as representatives of an organised religious group).

Maybe for the rest of the world it's wrong to focus so much attention just on the Roman Catholic Church, but in Argentina it makes perfect sense, since the other religions don't have much of a say in anything. The Church has threatened, for example, to excommunicate politicians who vote for abortion. For a religious catholic person, this is a big threat. If any other religion issued a similar threat, they would all shrug and go "well, I'm not of that religion anyway". See my point?

author by Mariepublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:26Report this post to the editors

The RC Church has the right to revert to a morally absolutist position on the issue of abortion
and has done so relatively recently during which Pope Benedict again referred to the sanctity
of life (on the Judenplatz in Austria) and in Rome as part of an audience (in relation to the Irish
situation). Therefore he is politicising the issue and has done so in Nicaragua. The RC church
is a Canonical/Theological/Philosophical entity, it has no right of interference in the issues
of maternity and or gynaecology being that it would not be considered an area of expertise for a
member of the clergy. When Politicians refuse to look dispassionately at the human rights
issues of abortion because of fear of the constituency of the RC church then that is a problem
for women. In saying this, I would also refer to the RC Church's interference in the fund raising
capability of the Human Right's organisation Amnesty international and it's recent extolling of the
faithful not to fund that work because of its abortion campaign.This is not an apolitical stance
and should be recognised for what it is- moral absolutism.

author by corkmanpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:46Report this post to the editors

"The RC Church has the right to revert to a morally absolutist position on the issue of abortion"

Why do you use the word 'revert'? Opposition to abortion is a perfectly justifiable stance, just like opposing torture and state terrorism. Opponents of abortion see it as killing of the defenceless, so how could they NOT oppose it?

author by RCpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 17:57Report this post to the editors

Revert is used because the RC church has turned a blind eye to the issue in Poland where the
well catalogued and archived attempt by the Christian right to bring in Constitutional change
based on article 38 (the right to life from the moment of conception) led to the separation of
the three parties and a constitutional crisis grounded in the Tysiac case. RC dominance
is political and canonical, It is ok for the RC church to make absolutist statements, but it is
not ok for those who suffer from ignorance and fear within that church to make hate statements
against women who require abortion for medical purposes to be alienated and abused
for an absolutist position, which is what happens unfortunately when people who are not
dogmatic or educated do to their family members and community members when they
use that position to create guilt and fear within the mind of another human being.

author by mattpublication date Thu Oct 11, 2007 22:35Report this post to the editors

"The Church has threatened, for example, to excommunicate politicians who vote for abortion"

In such a situation of deliberate support for abortion, the teaching of the RC Church is not that it
excommunicates anybody but that a person excommunicates himself or herself.
There are many individuals who falsely believe themselves to belong to the RC Church, while
supporting abortion, and the fact that they have not been formally excommunicated.
For R.Cs., who wish to remain in their church, support for abortion is not a matter of conscience, any
more than would be support for any other gross violation of human rights.

author by Mark Cpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 09:01Report this post to the editors

I'm just wondering does the author find that the unborn (or soon-to-be-born) child has any human rights? And, if not, when does this child get to the status when human rights might/will be conferred upon him/her.

Personally, I don't see a problem with adopting an absolutist position on this matter, certainly not if the grey area of when does human life/rights begin has not been cleared up. It seems much more pragmatic (and forward thinking and, dare I say it, progressive) to err on the side of caution.

Of course, I'll be told of the horror stories and the women who shouldn't have to suffer, but neither, I contend, should the children.

I write the above not as a religious believer, but from a personal perspectice and as a contributer to Amnesty and co-ordinator of Amnesty in the school I teach in, and as a father to be (of twins).


author by Daisypublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 09:12Report this post to the editors

If you have daughters, Do you wish for them to be able to get full medical rights if something
goes wrong in a pregnancy?
should a pope tell you that or your doctor?
Absolutism means abortion is wrong all the time, the RC church is not qualified to make that decision.

Listen to your mothers, daughters, sisters and friends and stop treating women as if their
opinions and experience did not matter to the community. These are Irish Women bringing their
concerns to you and you reject their opinion without leaving your comfort zone.
Things go wrong in pregnancy and all the supports should be there. for everyone.
all the time. would you see your daughter or wife go to the UK for a necessary medical
procedure because people won't say medical abortion?

author by pat cpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:26Report this post to the editors


How come the RCC applies double standards here? What about those politicians who support the death penalty? The RCC has never said that those people have excommunicated themselves.

In any case when it comes to abortion it is the RCC that does the excommunicating. By refusing politicians the sacrament clerics are effectively excommunicating them.

author by R.E. Silverapublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:59Report this post to the editors

So, the church assumes those who commit crimes against human rights as excommunicated?

Then what about Father Von Wernich? He has just been sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity in Argentina. (English)

He was personally involved in seven murders and many more cases of torture, as well as other direct actions of collaborating with state terrorism, such as passing on things said at confession to the authorities so they could track down people who didn't agree with the regime.

And what happened yesterday? Well, bishop De Elizalde declared that he is not to be suspended, nor excommunicated yet, and he is to still be allowed to give sacraments and mass. Why? Because the great bishop doesn't consider it to be "the right time" for that.

Is this your pro-life church? The Roman Catholic Church, by supporting people like Von Wernich like it ALWAYS has, has no leg to stand on to call itself a pro-life institution. It has always been involved with the institutional denial of human rights. This is why people in Argentina don't believe in the church as an institution, but still call themselves Catholic.

author by Mattpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:22Report this post to the editors

I see here the most common mistake among opponents of the R.C.C -
assuming that the pope, bishops or priests are the Church - they're not.
We have had some real nasties who were popes, bishops and priests, like Father Von Wernich and those who facilitated him. They may have presented the church teaching or even had a hand in its definition but they are not the Church.
Your difficulty, and mine, is with individuals or groups within the Church. That will always be the case
as long as the R.C.C. is represented by human beings.

So, the question remains - if the Church is not the pope, or the bishops or the priests,
then what is it - The people of God?
Well, much greater minds than mine are still wrestling with that question. Perhaps you're one of them.

author by R.E. Silverapublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:47Report this post to the editors

In the absence of hard evidence about the existence of metaphysical phenomena, and as a social scientist, the church is made up of an institutional hierarchy, as well as the followers that are legitimated as such by that hierarchy. It is an organisation of worship, as well as a power bloc.

A bishop, nay, one of the most important bishops in Argentina, are meant to be the spokespeople for the Church as an organisation. My point stands regarding the hypocrisy of the Church. It's very convenient to say that the Church doesn't condone such activities, only "individuals". It's a lovely, selective way of dealing with the issue. When they do things you don't approve of, well, that's just rebellious individuals. When they say what you want them to say and aren't afraid to support, then it's "the Church".

By that same token, I could tell you that all Church members who have been advocating an anti-choice point of view are not representative of the Roman Catholic Church. But that is not the case. A bishop is a representative of the Church, and the Vatican recognizes that.

So, as I said in the title, do not attempt to derail this topic by haphazardly groping at semantics.

author by Mattpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 14:03Report this post to the editors

You want to discuss the Church and its role - with whom?
The followers of most religions, by definition, believe in the spiritual and the metaphysical,
but you want to exclude any such allusions from a debate. In other words, debate must be conducted
solely on your narrow terms. I don't think so.
What you really want is a soap-box.

author by pat cpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 14:26Report this post to the editors

You are trying to have it both ways. You are dissociating yourself from the Church Hierarchy yet at the sametime funnily enough you hold the same position that they do on abortion.

The RCC is not some sort of democracy where you can hold any opinion you like, try it and you will soon see that the Vatican emits the partyline.

Perhaps in a parallel Universe the RCC is an open religion where everyone makes up their own mind, but in the Universe that we live in the RCC is a tightly and centrally controlled dictatorship.

author by supernaturalpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 15:01Report this post to the editors

The church holds its supremacy away from interference by State. it has its own laws, philosophies
it has mysticism and supernaturalism= it has history.
and yet>..
The State does not hold itself away from the sway of the Church.
Mostly women do not aspire to the nunhood and therefore the rules and views of the RC church
do not pertain to human rights issues, cos they cannot really , not with what they believe, nor what
they advocate.

author by Cogsy (M-L)publication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 15:38Report this post to the editors

There is a slogan commonly heard among Latin American feminists: “The rich women abort and the poor women die.” Among those who fall through the cracks of the extreme wealth inequalities of Latin America, the women who die or suffer health problems due to unsafe abortions are invisible victims. Those who can afford clandestine or overseas abortions remain shrouded by social taboo, while those who cannot afford such measures often die from hemorrhaging caused by self-inflicted abortion attempts.

On September 28th, feminist activists across the continent marked the International Day for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Their goals include calling for attention to unsafe abortion as a public health problem and for changes in access to abortion laws.

author by Mark Cpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 16:42Report this post to the editors


To answer your questions/comments:

Whether I have daughters or sons or both, I wish for them to be able to enjoy full medical rights even if something goes wrong during pregnancy (in the case of daughters). I do not consider abortion to be a medical right, even if something goes wrong during pregnancy. If a complication arises between now and my wife giving birth I am confident that the children will be carried to full term (I am not sure what you mean exactly by something going wrong, but if, for example, we discover that one or both children have a disability (no matter how severe) I will still consider them (inside of and later outside of the womb) to be human beings and care for them as such). By granting human rights to the unborn I believe I am being consistent in my life ethics.

Sorry for being absolutist, but human rights are inalienable and indivisible - or at least that is my belief.

I have no problem with The Pope or a doctor telling me this or anything else. All information that comes to me is weighed up and balanced and I choose what I believe to be right. (This is just an aside, but I have a sneaking feeling that The Pope is probably a little more level headed and well thought-out than you - that's just based on your style of writing though: the English teacher coming out in me again.)

Yes, absolutism means that abortion is wrong all the time. It means that torture is wrong all the time. It means that the death penalty is wrong all the time. Well spotted.
should a pope tell you that or your doctor?
Absolutism means abortion is wrong all the time, the RC church is not qualified to make that decision.

Enough! - You're correct.

It's interesting though that my questions were not answered: does the author find that the unborn (or soon-to-be-born) child has any human rights? And, if not, when does this child get to the status when human rights might/will be conferred upon him/her?

Oh well, some things are never answered.


author by staff room tippublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 17:59Report this post to the editors

You must learn to enjoy supressing the English teacher by the way. You wrote (rhetorically it seemed):- when does this child get to the status when human rights might/will be conferred upon him/her?
Well without being too basic or obscure we could use the universal declaration of human rights since it covers Argentina. & I hope you read these points perhaps considering the inclusion of such information in your work as a teacher.

The first article states :- "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood".

There's your answer!
You get born you get rights.

After being born you can enjoy the "right to life" which is article 3 & are protected from slavery by the 4th and torture or unusual punishment by the 5th. Now at the 6th things get interesting for children since they are generally considered to be wards of their parents, guardians or other state regulated body. I doubt you'd get far telling a minor they've a right to free movement or leave their country under the 13th article. You'll of course see that age gets its first mention in the 16th article which covers the right to marriage & to found a family. Article 23 covers the right to work but of course the UN declarations of the rights of the child temper those somewhat.

Well, you go read them yourself, nobody should really talk about Human Rights if they haven't even got a rough idea of what they're about!

Related Link:
author by R.E. Silverapublication date Fri Oct 12, 2007 19:00Report this post to the editors

I want to discuss the Church with whom, you ask? YOU ARE THE ONE WHO BROUGHT IT UP! I know you're trying to troll this discussion into ruin, but you must seriously try harder.

You say I want to discuss things in my narrow terms? What about international law, as mentioned by a previous poster? Is that "narrow"? Is religion above international law? I don't think so, otherwise you're justifying pretty much anything any religious person feels like doing.

You want us to discuss things on your metaphysical terms. Since there is no hard backing for the metaphysical, we might as well be discussing whether or not butterflies have souls. Sadly this is not a soapbox for the religious. This is about the rights of women, and reproductive rights. Do you think masturbation is wrong? After all, sperm is wasted during male masturbation, thus potential lives are wasted. Do you think contraception is wrong? After all, sperm is equally wasted. What about the pill? Diaphragms? Coils, where the ovum is discarded?

Because if you're going to take all potentialities of life into account, you might as well forbid people from having sex unless it is to procreate. Luckily, we have all moved on from marriage being the only way to intimately relate to other people, thank you.

author by H.publication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 09:24Report this post to the editors

Matt, you say that:

"I have no problem with The Pope or a doctor telling me this or anything else. All information that comes to me is weighed up and balanced and I choose what I believe to be right."

As an Irish, pro-choice woman, I couldn't agree with you more. I would have no problem with the pope telling me what he thinks about abortion if afterwards I had the legal right to weigh up and balance the information and "choose what I believe to be right". I don't. Neither will your daughters.

I give no consent to the pope or the government to make this decision for me.

Support my right to choose what I believe is right.

author by Mark Cpublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:53Report this post to the editors

You write:
You get born you get rights.

Am I to suppose then that you would support abortion up to and including the moment of birth? It seems a bit unfair (if I may use that word) to imply (as you do) that a baby (or whatever you choose to call him/her/it) could be removed from a womb at, say, eight and a half months and destroyed and that this could be considered an abortion.

You write:
[N]obody should really talk about Human Rights if they haven't even got a rough idea of what they're about!

I think I have a rough idea: I'm sure my kids will be happy that my wife and I didn't choose to have them aborted and exercised their right to life (as I see it (as I hope you are about your parents)).


author by C Murraypublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:22Report this post to the editors

Mark, with respect the issues at the top of the article are not about your personal life
and your unwillingness to engage with the human rights aspects of abortion is quite
simply off-putting.
RE Silvera wrote a highly interesting article on abortion which you have consistently
derailed and added your personal history into- I , for one am interested in the issues
and not you opinion.

author by Mark Cpublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 13:40Report this post to the editors

Hi Chris,

Great to see you're commenting on again.

With respect, the issues at the top of the article are about my personal life. I don't see how it could be anything less, given that my wife is pregnant presently, not metaphysically.

I am also not sure where your comment that I have an "unwillingness to engage with the human rights aspects of abortion" comes from; I am arguing that the right to life of an unborn (or as I sometimes refer to it "soon to be born") child is a right that supercedes the right of a woman to seek the termination of her pregnancy. Arguing about the right to life versus the right to seek an abortion is arguing from a human rights perspective. I think it is your narrow minded focus that is off-putting (a feature that has cropped up on your comments in many threads).

I have a feeling that we probably want the best for women/children, we simply disagree on what "the best" is: for you it is the right to have an abortion if a woman decides that this is in her interests and, for me, it is that an unborn's right to life is more important.

You are right: RE Silvera wrote a highly interesting article. It was well focussed, well researched, well structured. I have the right to comment (as much as you do) on this article. I have also kept my comments to the discussion and only discussed details about my wife when asked by "Daisy" if I would not like my children to have full medical rights. I decided to answer, believing that questions should be answered. I am not sure that RE Silvera has answered my questions which is a pity (unless she/he has changed his/her name to "tip in the staff room" or something equally innoccuous).

author by C Murraypublication date Mon Oct 15, 2007 18:43Report this post to the editors

Re:- This thread is about Argentina and Abortion and not really about your views, I'd suggest that
you collate info that is relevant to the right to life issue and do your own.

I would be interested in reading it, especially in the context of the Irish Amnesty section's
opt-out on abortion as a human right, the RC church and sexology and the political interferences
of that Church in developing nations.(especially those involved in bi-lateral trade agreements in the US).
It's nice to see an RC who is faithful to dominance, but I would contextualise it in relation to
the political development of the hierarchy. I suggest you read Fallon's 'Magisterium' and look
at Wiki on the issue of magisterium too. I did like 'Daisy's' comment and would re-iterate it,
these are Irish women from your community who have issues that go unignored by those
who rely on dogma as a means to avoid discussion, and as an Irish woman who has lived
in such a climate where no government has had the courage to legislate for'X I wholeheartedly
support their ability to research and contextualise the argument. My expertise would be
in medieval iconography and image btw- so I'd look forward to an open-ended discussion
on the issues- just not here.

author by VORpublication date Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:09Report this post to the editors

Am i missing something or did we not hold a referendum, the result of which was that irish people did not want to have abortion carried out in Ireland? Or was it just the RC Church that was allowed to vote in that particular one? Perhaps we do need another referendum, but i find it ludicrous that the Church should be held responsible from stopping something that the majority of Irish citizens voted against

author by Legislationpublication date Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:19Report this post to the editors

interestingly we did have a referendum, which succeeded in dividing people and not
discussing the issues, it was grounded in media hysteria, which we can see is really
intellectual. but FF have overturned Referenda and put the same thing on the table
(Nice II) . With a different spin, they are past masters at overturning the will of the people
and no-one who voted wanted the eight amendment. The current RC dogma is based in
a centralised church and a series of encyclicals that belong more to a supernatural mariology cult than
based in accepted human rights of young girls and women- however, its about legislating
not referenda. its about recognition and a church that disavows the rights of the child
is hardly politically and moral competent to be interfering in human rights issues!
The pope has stated that the church has right of leadership in nations but the state has not
interfered in the workings of the church.

author by Cowboypublication date Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:03Report this post to the editors

Hi Mark,
you wondered about eight and a half months

are we talking about the same thing?
are we talking about the same thing?

Related Link:
author by Edpublication date Tue Oct 16, 2007 23:25Report this post to the editors

Maybe I'm missing something but I fail to see what one cartoon has to do with the other.
One is about abortion, the other is about the RC.
Is abortion somehow solely the domain of the pope?

author by Mark Cpublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:11Report this post to the editors

I am only guessing but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone is not being able to figure out why you published those cartoons.

What a way to kill what was quite a lively thread. Well done.


author by staff room tippublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:23Report this post to the editors

I respect your faith Mark, I merely pointed out that Human Rights are held to begin at birth or different stages in life. It is the work of human rights & human development in general to extend many of those rights e.g. end child labour or child soldiers.
The charters of Human Rights (& there are various) do not include rights of the unborn. It is thus we look at the ability or sustainability of the foetus without the womb. We are all mostly glad to be born for we know nothing else & not one of us remembers being born. Though under RC theology if we had not been born we would know the presence of God in full grace. To be born is to engage with the test which is life & the hope of redemption which is everlasting life & knowing the presence of God. But to be born is just as much an opportunity (in RC & Christian theology) to not know the presnce & thus endure the eternal absence of grace & God - or "hell". I could have done without being born if it meant knowing the presence & not having to endure the tests of either this life or any purgatory & falling at every time I judged the actions of others in their exercise of free will.

That might seem deeply offensive to you. I'm sorry. I agree the cartoons don't really add much to the exchange of views, but note that exchange seems less frictitious than usually.

author by Lukepublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 14:07Report this post to the editors

I disagree Mark. This thread is about abortion and the rc church. The cartoons address both.
It is refreshing to see even a little light being shed on the reality of abortion. It's not p.c. to do so.

If we are going to talk about abortion let's agree at least on what are the blatant facts of the matter.
Why, for instance, in Eire, is it only through images from right-wing catholic organisations that the
physical reality of abortion is communicated to the public. Probably it is the same in Argentina.
Why is it that no pro-choice group has ever attempted to show to the public the physical reality of abortion.
No t.v. broadcaster or newspaper has ever tried to so inform. After all, abortion information is what
everybody wants, isn't it?

Or is it the case that pro-choice groups do not want people, esp. women, to have all the information that
they need in order to make a fully-informed choice? Pro-choice will say that these images are 'emotive'
as if women should not feel emotions, much less be led to make a decision by any reference to their
emotions. To that let me ask you a question: which has the greatest influence on your life - your heart or your head?

author by Cool eyed Lukepublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 15:21Report this post to the editors

Is the right against abortion and the left for it? That is how it seems when looking at newspaper and tv coverage. Yet I think a lot of middle of the road voters who vote mostly FF and FG (maybe even Labour?) are opposed, and they wouldn't consider themselves to be on the right or on the left - whatever leftists consider such voters "objectively' to be.

Do leftists stop to consider that in Britian and America there are economic conservatives who promote what here we call "the liberal agenda" i.e. they support the demands of the left on abortion, stem cell research, euthanasia, expanded sex education, gay marriage? Yes, they support some or all of these things, yet on economic and military matters they are on the hard right. The left activists are doing all the street and other agitation on such issues while the right wing power governments smile and get on with their low taxation, minimal welfarist and overseas militarist agendas.

Funny world.

author by interesting pointpublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 16:23Report this post to the editors

They work really hand in hand. The RC church, for example, is willing to make morally absolutist
statements on women and family which provide the cornerstone for the state's ability to
ignore the needs of the individual, therby heaping the responsibility of care on the small family unit.
and yet all the theocracies advocate a pro-life , anti-woman agenda whilst supporting war and
not making statements on how juggernaut states provide and provision to glutted consumerist
societies. The thing that goes wrong is quite simple The churches (Islam, RC , Christian)
claim freedom from state interferences in their doctrine which is god-driven but continue
to exert influence on the state's arena -which allows the state to opt-out of areas that they
would rather not examine. This symbiosis is no more prevalent in the US where the language
of 'life' issues is used as a control mechanism against women's sexuality , whilst justifying
illegal wars against other faith groups. To witness what they do in the name of their God is
appalling when they have numbed generations of people to the genocide they create by usage of
media and entertainment. I do not think that we have the courage and empathy to understand
the fear of war and how it effects the simple things that we take for granted like our relation
to our kids and living to get old. it is time the symbiosis stopped and the centralisation of
power blocs be they church or state was examined for what it is- a corruption based in fear.
The Present pope has made three or four statements against abortion in this period of
six months, I do not hear the same level of statement made against war or for the human
rights of our children to be upheld and it is a concern.

author by staff room tippublication date Wed Oct 17, 2007 21:03Report this post to the editors

2 comments ago in an attempt to clarify a comment on the character of "human rights" up the page I perhaps touched on a "question which can not be answered". It strikes me as very odd that people who say they know about Human rights even attempt to discuss Human rights in the same breath as their religious beliefs. I'll make it really clear : Human rights are not derived from God. Human rights in general, the European convention you enjoy, the UN charter I linked to above & the Rights of Man which kicked the whole show off in the XVIII century are the work of man. Man being that creature just below the angels or a tad more coherent & pretty than the simians to whom is attributed rational thought, reasoning, free will &c.

It is one of the mysteries of social development that Human Rights are the product of continental masonic lodges and were perculated without God & in direct opposition to the Church. Their last manifestations are moreoverly "without God" because whereas one might & many probably would attribute the American bill of rights or constitution, the charter of rights of England's 1690 or some later "Jacobean" sentiment, by the end of the 19th century the great divide had occured in masonic thought. The Anglo-saxon world kept the great architect & broke communion with the "grand orient" of continental Europe who dumped him. In other words & to be quite frank the words of the time - the British & Americans went on with their Empress & President, God & Nwords whereas the Europeans embraced libertarianism, anarchism & most importantly the framing of trans-national & internationalist rights.

It is of little importance that today Catholics of good faith speak of "human rights", "equal opportunities for men & women", "the evils of child labour" - their place in their world vision is thanks to the work of men not God, Of freemen not of bishops, of those thinkers who preferred to contemplate the living rather than afterlife. That such rights have been more universally accepted in such a short space of time than the creeds or theories of either pre-life or afterlife of any religion in history ought speak volumes for their self-evidence .

So it really is laughable to see anti-abortion people talk of "a right to life" for human unborn now when in the two millenia to which they attribute their orthodoxy, they have never, not even once articulated any human right at all. Perhaps they're jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe the little voice of sense in their conscience let them know we are equal, free & not slaves or bondsmen, capable of diginifed rational choices not the predestination of an untouchable caste.

No religion has converted the world. No theory of pre- or after- life has united the world.

But you all it is said & written "know your rights".

I wonder do you.:.

author by tedpublication date Thu Oct 18, 2007 23:33Report this post to the editors

"Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations."


"And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations."

my point - that God uses whomever he wishes to fulfill his plan.

author by cablepublication date Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:27Report this post to the editors

If you don't approve of termination of pregnancy, don't have one, but don't try to stop women having control of their own bodies and lives. Women and girls will always try to terminate unwanted pregnancies, legally or otherwise; far better it's done medically & cleanly. Obviously no doctor who hates abortion should have to perform the operation, but that's not in question.
If the ~Church is going to oppose abortion, then it must provide decent homes and care for unwanted children, and support for those with disabilities and their families ( which it does in some places very well), but too often the Church is careful of its purse.
As regards the Church, I haven't much time for popes, bishops, and Church hierarchy, but there are many good people who live their Faith - parish priests, nuns, and lay people.
We could consider the lives that have been taken by allowing the American war machine to use Shannon Airport and breach Irish neutrality.

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