This month’s International Literature Festival in Dublin ilfdublin.com will be missing a book edited by Irish Times columnist Una Mullally: “Repeal the 8th”. When Martina Evans reviewed the book for the Irish Times last month she saw contributor Caitlin Moran as “striking the only discordant note” because Moran describes abortion as “incalculably more moral than bringing an unwanted child into this world”.
Actually, a discordant morality note is also struck by other contributors. In fact Colm O’Gorman’s whole chapter is entitled “We will win because we have truth and right on our side”. It is discordant because the various authors don’t use the same basis for their morality. O’Gorman’s morality seems to be driven by particular UN treaty bodies that can override “tensions arising from differences over…social or moral norms”. For Moran it is her own “conscious mind” – she elevates some of her opinions to the level of “genuinely sacred”. For one of her friends (“Rachel”) the moral basis for her abortion appears to be simple convenience, “It’s one of the top four best things I ever did – after marrying my husband, having my son and getting a fixed quote on the loft conversion”.
Somebody, somewhere needs to say what their objective basis for “truth”, “right” and “morality” is. Unless we’re all (babies, children and adults) “clumps of cells” there must be a God who made us the way we are and can give us more nuanced, and less clumsy, moral guidelines.
Some of my friends tell me not to mention my belief in God in my support for retaining the Eighth Amendment. But I want a good basis for human dignity, for compassion, for respect. After searching as diligently as I know how, I cannot find more compassionate guidelines than the life, teaching and example of Jesus of Nazareth.