This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 21 June, 2018
Advertisement

Column: I'm a pro-choice TD and I’ve never pretended to be anything else

Labour TD Anne Ferris says a Sunday Independent article ‘revealing’ her beliefs about abortion is irrelevant because she has gone on public record expressing her pro-choice beliefs.

Anne Ferris

This week, the Sunday Independent newspaper published a front-page story revealing transcripts from taped conversations about abortion legislation between Labour TDs Anne Ferris Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, who both indicated the legislation could be used as a stepping stone for less restrictive regimes in the future. Here, Ferris addresses the story – saying the article added nothing new to her public position on the matter, as she has consistently gone on record as a pro-choice advocate.

THERE’S A SAYING that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

Last Sunday, a newspaper published a story whose sole purpose was to sow dissent and distrust, and it got me thinking about the quote above.

The story sought to portray me as a duplicitous woman who was ‘caught out’ as a result of ‘sting’ tapes recording my previously unexposed position on abortion.

I want to be clear from the off; I am a pro-choice TD and I’ve never pretended to be anything but. In fact I’m on the record as being pro-choice and believing that X-case legislation doesn’t go far enough.

Secretly recorded conversation

I was disappointed, then, that a woman came to my office, a woman that I thought had real concerns, secretly recorded our conversation, and sold it to the lowest bidder.

Well they say that paper never refuses ink but I understand that when this tape was initially offered to another paper, the editor declined saying it wasn’t real journalism.

I was upset that another paper took the opportunity to go ahead then, on a front page article, with a story that I believe was underhand, wrong and published to do maximum damage to me and to coalition relations.

I was also upset, as were my family, when a journalist called to my home and refused to leave when asked.

It’s not the type of journalism I have any truck with.

I have full respect for the Fourth Estate and have admired the work that journalists in this country, and around the world, have done and continue to do on a daily basis. Indeed when I think of good solid journalism people like Mary Raftery come to mind.

However, I do think the profession is lessened when articles like that of last Sunday’s appear.

Perhaps though, that is just my moral arc and the values I hold dear would be at odds with that of another.

Certainly when it comes to the actual issue at stake, that of abortion, I know there are varying views. It is a controversial topic, I am aware of that. It’s one that evokes emotions on all sides of the debate.

However, I am a pro-choice TD. I am a Catholic and I’m a proud member of the Labour Party. I have campaigned on this issue for many years and I welcome the fact that after 21 years the Heads of Bill legislating for the X-Case have finally been agreed.

The State should not have control over a woman’s mind or body

Members of the Oireachtas will have to decide for themselves what support they will show for this legislation. They will do this, I hope, without being manipulated by elements of the media or by well-resourced and underhand campaigners.

I for one know where I stand. I will support this legislation fully and completely. I think it is the right and responsible thing to do.

In time to come, in arguments for the future, I would very much like to see greater and more expansive rights for women. Indeed I mean to work to that end.

I don’t think the State should have control over a woman’s mind or her body.

These are my views and I don’t run away from them. I hope that in time the moral arc will bend towards justice on this issue and the rights that women deserve can be realised.

Read: Labour TD says newspaper ‘sting’ job on abortion beliefs was intended to mislead

Read: ‘Those tapes are trying to sow division’ – Minister dismisses abortion ‘sting’ job

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Anne Ferris

Read next:

COMMENTS (78)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel