President Michael D Higgins has now signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

It is now law.

So here’s some history.

In 1977, a Fianna Fáil landslide saw a remarkable influx of new TDs into the Dáil. Three elections in eighteen months in the early 1980s saw further changes, and the first major issue for many of those TDs was the eighth amendment, the abortion referendum.

That experience scarred those TDs so much they were remarkably reluctant to go near it again. They ignored the issue while students’ unions went to court, at home and in Europe, until the X case forced hem to act. The “right to travel” exists because the attorney general jailed injuncted a raped teenager. But the right to information exists because students published addresses.

European judgements and the Savita case have forced TDs to act again. As in the early 1980s, the 2011 election means there are a lot of new faces in the Dáil. Some of them will be there for a long time. None of them will want to revisit the last six months.

There are no floodgates.

Nothing has changed.

In case you haven’t realised yet, Youth Defence and the Iona Institute won.

Image via Irish Political Memes
Image via Irish Political Memes

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.

One comment

  1. I don’t recall any raped teenager being jailed by the attorney-general (who has never had that power anyway).

    You have in mind, perhaps, a court-issued injunction.

    (If the pedantry offends you or a reader, just remember that a lawyer’s gimlet eye for distinctions just might save your life one day.).

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