On Friday, Broadsheet.ie featured an opinion piece about abortion that was published in the Wexford People newspaper last week. While the article has received national attention and astute criticism from the Broadsheet readership, discussions of a woman’s right to choose in forums such as this are a case of preaching to the converted.
The Wexford People should be made aware that opinion pieces such as Walsh’s are not simply inflammatory and biased, but derogatory and potentially damaging to women.
Walsh believes that the availability of abortion ‘on demand’ could create a situation where “women could be free to have an abortion in all circumstances if they unexpectedly became pregnant. For example, a woman might be due to go on an exclusive foreign holiday but an unexpected pregnancy could interfere with her plan and how she might look on the beach. Or there could be an unexpected pregnancy in the run up to a family wedding, ruining the chances of fitting into a very expensive dress.”
Walsh’s representation of women in this paragraph illustrates what low regard he holds them in. He discusses abortion as if it is a cosmetic procedure akin to liposuction, painting women as vain and self-absorbed creatures who live in a world of ‘exclusive’ holidays and ‘very expensive’ wardrobes. While it may be unfashionable to talk about ‘misogyny’ and ‘patriarchy’ in contemporary Ireland, Walsh’s views are patently those of a conservative misogynist.
While it may not be possible to change Walsh’s stance on abortion, it is essential that he is made aware of the inappropriateness of his comments. Regardless of personal opinions, religious convictions or moral positions on the abortion debate, the women of Ireland deserve to be treated with at least a modicum of respect that is conspicuously absent from Walsh’s article.
I have emailed the editor of the Wexford People expressing my concern about this article; perhaps you could encourage others to do the same. Read the original Broadsheet article here.
And you can get the editor of the Wexford People by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone on 053 9140100
Síona Finlayson is a recent graduate with a BA in Sociology and a strong interest in gender issues.
We welcome submissions to the blog, subject to editorial review, please contact us if you're interested. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the IFN.