It has been a difficult time – these past few months, with much talk around the subject of life, pregnancy, birth and abortion. Many views were expressed, concerns and hopes shared with a view to clarifying the situation. It’s not certain that clarity ever fully revealed itself and, in its absence, mis-information and confusion took centre stage. Some of the things said by people on both sides of the debate were less than worthy or helpful. Human life and its very journey was parcelled out into camps and soundbytes – Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Women’s Rights, The Right to Choose, Choose Life, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour, Sinn Féin, Independents, Vincent Browne, Miriam O’Callaghan, Pat Kenny, George Hook and countless more ….. Savita’s story, The “X” Case, the “A”, “B” and “C” cases, Fatal Foetal Conditions, Suicide, Suicide Ideation ….. so many camps, terms, words, arguments, protests, vigils, prayers, letters, petitions …….
At the core of it all, that spark that is human life – giving way to body and soul, to future and hope, to life and love to become boy or girl, man or woman, rich or poor and yes, healthy or sick. Always there are circumstances that fall far short of the ideal or desired. There can be no denying that people have been hurt, led into pregnancy not of their choosing. This is wrong but somehow the blame must lie outside and not within – with the perpetrator of evil. Unless we’ve walked in the shoes of one so tragically violated, there is no way of knowing the turmoil and hurt experienced. To people like this, every help must be given, every lonely moment shared but when does the righting of the wrong go too far?
A few short months ago, we lauded and RIGHTLY so, the young and brave beyond his years, Donal Walsh. His cry – his dying wish, was that people would value their lives, walk into life and not away from it. Where does his legacy stand now when suicide is put before us as a legally defined cause to take life?
We are called to walk with people, talk with people and share their journey, not least those varied and difficult journeys encountered by so many. The right choice is always life-giving and it’s now a more challenging choice and possibly even a more noble choice since its made in faith, hope and love and not because of law.