On Tuesday, in a stunning move–especially because both candidates for Conservative Party leadership, and thus, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom said they did not want it done–the parliament of the UK voted to legalize abortion in Northern Ireland. England has their abortion law, but since the Good Friday Agreement went into effect in 1999, Northern Ireland has had a separate government for their internal affairs called devolution. Unfortunately, that government collapsed and has been collapsed for two years now, so the United Kingdom has been ruling Northern Ireland directly. That said, for something this controversial, which is according to polls, not supported in the country, couldn’t they wait until Northern Ireland had their government back and not tried to push them into this? Now the government has to reform and repeal the bill, and they only have three months to do so or it passes.
The thing about this that makes me really angry is how representative it is of the entire history of Ireland. A portion of my ancestors came to this country in the 1840s when the English took all the food from Ireland and forced the Irish to subsist on the one crop that failed. They exacerbated that horrible situation with the Corn Laws, which hurt the poor Irish people. On Tuesday, England repeated that horror, imposing abortion up to 28 weeks, that will kill Irish babies and hurt Irish women. This imposition of law is reminiscent of events that have taken place since the year 1171. Since that time, the English government has imposed laws without the consent of the Irish, and it has so often led to the deaths of thousands. On Tuesday, they added another spin to the horror story of English rule in Ireland.
Thank God it only applies to the North this time, though a different type of imperialism was applied to get abortion to be broadly legal in the Republic of Ireland. In Ireland, they largely consume British media, and the British media supported Repeal the Eighth Amendment, which eliminated the unborn child’s right to life in the Irish Constitution.
Focusing more specifically on the North again, is that traditional independence parties either did nothing or actively sought British rule in Ireland under this circumstance. As soon as the law was changed in the Republic, activists, including from Sinn Féin, the “independence party”, were asking London to intervene and legalize it in the North. Mary Lou McDonald and Sinn Féin will be celebrating this ruling, and there is no doubt about that. This is shocking and infuriating. No one who calls themselves a Republican or a nationalist should be celebrating this, or even being silent on it. Sinn Féin and the traditional avenues of Irish nationalism have sold out so far to social liberalism that they are now actively asking for London rule when it fits their agenda. Sinn Féin translates from Irish to English as “We Ourselves”, reflecting the foundation of the party as going all in for complete independence from the United Kingdom. Here, Mary Lou McDonald plays the part of Dermot MacMurrough, the 12th-century Irish king who first invited the English to Ireland, and she plays it stunningly well, a part previously played by Irish Health Minister Simon Harris, who also turned in a stunning performance. It is really a horribly sad thing that people who claim to support the independence of the Irish nation are betraying their values in service of getting abortion on demand on both sides of the Irish border. This is one of the darkest periods in the history of a country that is full of them, and it again comes courtesy of the United Kingdom, this time, supported by the fake Republicans who decry their influence whenever it is convenient.