Ireland's Toxic Romance

“I don’t want a baby who is slow and will have me to blame for it,” Emer said when she finally had an abortion. Emer and her long-term boyfriend Connor had booked an abortion earlier on in the pregnancy but cancelled it reluctantly because two friends of mine convinced them to wait. The couple wanted to marry and family together, but this baby was a surprise. When they were partying so much in the early months of the baby's life they had not known the woman was soaking the young infant in glasses of vodka.  The friends I have in common with this couple told them to make sure the baby was, in fact, harmed first, because they could be aborting a healthy baby. The weeks of pregnancy wore on and the couple had another scan which showed the baby was healthy, but they could not be assured that the baby's intelligence had not been impaired by the mother's excessive drinking in early pregnancy, so as fast as they could, they aborted the baby.

I have found that Emer and Connor are not the exception among young Irish people who abort their child.  During the past 15 years I’ve done as much crisis pregnancy counseling as possible, from my time in university to present day, and I have found that binge-drinking (which is a very accepted vice in Ireland) plays a huge role, while contraception is the enabler.  Some examples are painfully etched in my mind. The mother from Tipperary who dumped her 17-year-old daughter on a street near an abortion clinic where I met the young girl. The teen was in a cycle of drinking ‘til she blacked out, and she’d gotten pregnant during one of these times. Her mother felt she had done her best by putting her kid on the Pill, so the daughter ‘could have her fun’, but they never thought a child would result from the ‘fun’.  Resolute she did not want a grandchild who was pickled in alcohol, the Irish mammy said she wouldn’t speak to the daughter until after she had the abortion. Despite my best efforts to help the young girl, she went through the clinic doors crying and whimpering like a new-born baby herself.

When we were growing up in Ireland we were told that to sleep around was ‘normal’, and to do otherwise was to be, ‘backward’ which meant you were treated as a freakish heteroclite.  That said, it is not impossible to convince an Irishwoman out of abortion, a girl I know from back home did the amazing feat of convincing a married woman not to abort a baby she had conceived when drunk, a baby who was not her husband’s. 

A common set of circumstances is when an Irish woman is in a crisis pregnancy, after becoming pregnant because she was looking for love by drink-fueled promiscuity, which is modern husband-hunting Irish style. After their first abortion, they drink more to numb their guilt, and then have a second abortion for the same reason as the first.

Contraception induces in people a state of mind where sex and the creation of a new life are wholly separate, sequestered from each other.   Whenever and wherever the youngest generation of young people are trained to use contraception and emotionally blackmailed into being promiscuous, addictive poison is embraced and imbibed more because if there is no young life growing in the womb to protect, why not have as much of your poison of choice?  In Ireland, this poison is alcohol, and the combination of binge-drinking and contraception has allowed our natural hedonism to take control, meaning ultimately a mutilation of youth and young people because the most vulnerable young life must be snuffed out so that promiscuity and binge-drinking may continue, and the young life of the pregnant mother is marred by the psychological assault done to her by her peers, her parents and those who willingly dismember her child. The laughing crowds you saw on telly who gleefully celebrated with glasses of bubbly in hand as abortion became legal following the referendum in May, were raising a glass to a society which has had its conscience poisoned,

I may have become an outlier, joining the Latin Mass community and finding a different way of life from that of my contemporaries, but I have a shared history with the Irish young people who voted for abortion and sometimes the same hardness and self-hate I see in them, I see in myself. I remember growing up in Ireland, being bullied in school, being a pariah on the playground yet knowing there were a certain few girls who were already binge-drinking. Had I joined them they would have been my friends because we would have had something in common and I could always tell on their drinking and they would be able to tell on me, so we would exert a power over the other. We were twelve. I chose not to be their drinking companions, but it instilled in me the same contempt of self which I see in my peers, where I learned that people would not like me for me, only if I shared a proclivity with them.

Post-abortion women in Irish society find it hard to break away from heavy drinking and repeat abortions because they face the same choice I did in primary school; drink and have friends or abstain and be alone. 

This is a picture of me, Mary O'Regan, as a child in Ireland
I wrote this article for The Latin Mass Society Magazine, the Autumn 2018 Edition, you may read the entire magazine here