Fintan O’Toole: Abortion is the Jarndyce and Jarndyce of Irish politics

Eighth Amendment needs to be finally uprooted, not fertilised with yet more equivocations

Demonstrators at the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

Demonstrators at the March for Choice in Dublin last Saturday. Photograph: Tom Honan/PA Wire

It is a great Irish achievement to make the question of termination so utterly interminable. Abortion is the Jarndyce and Jarndyce of Irish politics, our national version of the infamously unending court case in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House: “Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on . . . Innumerable children have been born in the cause; innumerable young people have married into it; innumerable old people have died out of it . . . whole families have inherited legendary hatreds with the suit.”

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