Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Chastity: the new rape defence

And the award for Today's Most Hilarious Troll goes to...


I'm glad he's called Larry. I've never met a Larry I didn't want to avoid the heck out of.

So, a quick recap: a 17 year old girl became pregnant as a result of rape. When she discovered this, she became suicidal, and requested an abortion. Too bad for her, she was in Ireland, and didn't have a visa to travel to England, so her only option was to become an unwilling guinea pig for the shiny new Protection of Life During Pregnancy, If Two Psychiatrists And An Obstetrician Agree That You're Going To Be Really Very Dead If You Carry On Being Pregnant, Maybe, Maybe, We'll Let You Make A Decision Regarding Your Own Uterus Act.

So the psychiatrists supported her claim, while the obstetrician - you know, the one whose job isn't assessing people's psychological health - ruled against.

In utter desperation, she went on hunger strike.
[She] believes that the government deliberately delayed her case – both through the state’s decision to ignore psychiatric experts and via her inability to travel because of her legal status – so that she would have to carry the pregnancy at least through the fetus’s viability. After going on a hunger strike, she was forced to undergo a caesarean section at just 25 weeks into her pregnancy. 
That’s 17 full weeks after she first sought help.

She first requested an abortion at eight weeks, by the way.

You know what, that is unbelievably fucking depressing. And infuriating. And heart breaking. We need a break: let's generate an artist's representation of what "Larry" looks like.

Eurgh, Larry.

So in response to this case, Larry thinks we should focus less on the desirability of killing babies, and more on the virtues of chastity.

Chastity does not actually mean never having sex. That would be celibacy. Chastity means having the appropriate amount of sex for your circumstances, as defined by the baby Jesus: it includes nuns and single people saying no to nookie, but also honeymooners fucking like bunnies. So presumably Larry isn't aware of the hundreds of married women who contact ASN each year.

But bringing up the "don't have sex unless you're prepared to have a baby!" argument - which is gross at the best of times - in a case where the woman is pregnant as a result of rape, is just mind-blowingly cruel.

"Sorry love - you played by The Chastity Rules, but your rapist didn't, and you know who should pay the price for that? Yes! It's you! When life gives you lemons, the Irish government gives you major surgery against your will!"


  1. Why would they be happy to give her a c-section at 25 weeks when babies only just start becoming viable at 24 weeks? I mean, if they really wanted the baby to survive, why do a c-section so early? On first glance it looks like they aren't so fussed about the life chances of the baby, so why not just let her get a legal abortion before 24 weeks?
    Any news on how the baby is doing? I assume not well.

    (I deliberately use the word baby instead of fetus. Please no one shout at me, I've had a complicated year)

  2. Another question - are the anti-abortion folk now going to help this baby (should it survive) live comfortably? Because at 25 weeks it's incredibly premature and likely to need a lot of support throughout it's life.

  3. I assume her hunger strike forced the issue? But yeah, it's fucking ridiculous.

    The baby is "healthy", apparently, now taken under the care of the state. And we all know that usually ends brilliantly. I'm sure I read somewhere that this Precious Life that they were so Desperate To Save has not been granted Irish citizenship, which seriously blows my mind, but can't find a link to back that up, so don't quote me.

    Argh fuck this case. Why am I writing about it, WHY.

    Of course I wouldn't shout at you for word choice! Hope you're doing ok re complicated year. xx

  4. She was entitled to a termination of pregnancy because she was suicidal (and the law provides for that at any stage of pregnancy, hence why the pro-lifers don't like it). What the law also provides for, however, is preserving the life of the foetus if it is viable. Hence the c-section (which terminates the pregnancy but not the foetus) at ~24 weeks (I'm presuming there were medical/psychological reasons for a section rather than induction but who knows at this point).

  5. Thanks C.

    In much less depressing news, Larry has returned with the devastating comeback:

    "Murder shouldnt be an option. Women who have abortions are just a pile of crap."

    Debate over.

    (If I focus on the funny trolls, maybe I can keep from crying til my phone shift ends tomorrow!)

  6. I expect that if she was suicidal and on hunger strike a vaginal delivery could go really really wrong. I bet she wouldn't be well afterwards (it takes a lot out of you at the best of times) and I wonder if a vaginal delivery at 25 weeks carries a greater risk to the baby. A c-section takes about half an hour and is much easier, in terms of getting the baby out. Although much harder ro recover from, for the mother.

    1. On recovery, the interview where she talks about the c-section scar is just... well, as heart-breaking as you'd expect it to be. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/they-said-they-could-not-do-an-abortion-i-said-you-can-leave-me-now-to-die-i-don-t-want-to-live-in-this-world-anymore-1.1901258?page=1