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Time travel. Or, a disingenuous argument for new abortion legislation in Ireland

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 11, 2013

Columnist Paddy Agnew of the Irish Times leans heavily on cliché in his column criticizing Catholic Church opposition to proposed abortion legislation. Church leaders are “charging at windmills,” he warns. The Church—stop me if you’ve heard this one before—“wants to turn back the clock.”

Actually this is a new wrinkle. New legislation is proposed. The people who oppose it—who prefer the status quo--are accused of turning back the clock. Do you need to turn back the clock to arrive at the present?

Perhaps so. Agnew writes that Church leaders are misinterpreting the drive for a new law, since it would “merely codify already restrictive legislation.” But if the legislation is already on the books, there’s no need to codify it. Agnew is pushing for a change in the law, but he doesn’t want to acknowledge it as a change, so he blurs the time-line and depicts the present as the past.

Agnew notes that long-time opponents of legal abortion are opposing the proposed new legislation. He attributes their opposition to defective understanding. However he neglects to mention the advocates of legal abortion favor the government’s drive for change. Is that because they want to see the “already restrictive legislation” clarified? Not likely.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 11, 2013 2:22 PM ET USA

    And from the Irish Times today we have this: "Some 35 per cent of the 1,000 people polled by Red C said they supported the Government’s decision to introduce legislation that would allow a threat of suicide as a ground of substantial risk to the life of a mother." Anyone doubt the rate of 'threatened suicides' is about to skyrocket in Ireland? Beyond the fact that pro-aborts are revolting because they kill babies, they're offensive because they lie so sanctimoniously.