Creighton attacks media over ‘progressive consensus’ on abortion

Former minister claims only women who decide to terminate are celebrated

Lucinda Creighton: We never celebrate the women who take the decision not to abort. Photograph: The Irish Times

Lucinda Creighton: We never celebrate the women who take the decision not to abort. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Former government minister Lucinda Creighton has accused the media of bias on the issue of abortion.

Ms Creighton, who lost the Fine Gael whip in 2013 over the issue, said she was “hounded relentless” on the issue after she voted against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

She maintained the public are evenly divided on the issue, with just 51 per cent supporting the proposal to allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.

“This is a remarkably slim majority which is surprising given that our media seems to suggest the referendum to repeal is almost a done deal,” she writes in her Sun column.

“The disconnect between the media and the public makes me wonder whether there are journalists who do not buy into the general consensus that abortion is the only ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ course.

“Perhaps there are other who are cowed and fearful of challenging this consensus because they know they will be labelled as ‘backward’ and “regressive’ or worst of all ‘Catholic fundamentalists’.

“Once I dared not to vote for the legislation put forward by Enda Kenny’s government, it was the only issue journalists wanted to discuss with me,” she said.

“I recall the serious issues and experiences of abortion in other countries which I raised being dismissed by journalists as ‘misleading’.

“They sneered and constantly tried to pigeonhole me as some sort of relic from 1950s Catholic Ireland. Yet none of them had any idea whether I had any strong religious views at all. As it happens, I don’t.”

She described Micheal Martin’s announcement that he would support Repeal of the Eighth, as “entirely predictable” and given a “uniformly rapturous welcome” from Irish journalists.

“Again, on Monday night, when Leo Varadkar and his colleagues made the same unsurprising announcement, the journalistic euphoria on social media was palpable.

“While journalists, like all citizens, are fully entitled to hold opinions on issues of public concern, they should at least attempt to demonstrate some balance in their reporting.”

She accused the media of only celebrating women who decide to terminate the baby’s life.

“Over recent years we have heard incessently about the women who travel for abortions. They are deemed courageous and brave,” she wrote.

“We never hear about the women whose babies are diagnosed serious illness and are kept.

“We never celebrate the women who take the decision not to abort and who bring their babies into the world knowing they will receive little support or understanding from our Government and are aware that their child might live for a month, a week, a day, an hour or less,” Ms Creighton wrote.

“Only the decision to terminate is deemed ‘brave’. Why? And why is it only the politicians who fall into line with the journalists who want abortion on demand are deemed to be brave or laudable?

“What is so brave about succumbing to the editorial line of every newspaper?”

Ms Creighton, who lost her seat at the 2016 general election, said her experience of being a mother has strengthened her belief that abortion was wrong.

“I have a six-month-old son, a wonderful, unique little person who brings joy everywhere he goes. I had my first scan with him at 11 weeks,” she wrote.

“It was amazing - I saw his little heart beating, his perfectly formed body and him moving.

“He was not a blob or clump of cells. He was, and is, a unique person. He was the same baby at 11 weeks as he is today - just at a different stage of development and not simply a foetus. The doctors and nurses talked about my baby, not some alien being.

“Under the Government’s proposals this perfectly formed, innocent baby can now be aborted for no reason at all,” she said.