The Irish Referendum on Legalizing Abortion

On June 2, 2014 I posted the below article concerning an Irish historian’s claim that hundreds of dead babies were to be found on the grounds of a “home” for unwed mothers run by the Roman Catholic church and staffed by nuns.  I was new around here then; the post only got 7 “likes” though it still holds my record for the most one day views ever  – over 500.

Three years later the Irish government  confirmed the facts unearthed by the historian.

“DUBLIN (Reuters) – The remains of babies, ranging from new-born to three-years-old, have been found in the sewers of a former Church-run home for unmarried mothers in Ireland, the government said on Friday.”

A report from an inquiry the government ordered in 2014 backed up a historian’s claim that up to 800 children may lie in an unmarked grave at the home. It said: “significant quantities of human remains have been discovered in at least 17 of the 20 underground chambers which were examined”.


How many of you saw the movie “Philomena”?

For those of you who haven’t it is the story of a young, unmarried pregnant Irish girl, abandoned by her family because of the “shame” she brought upon them and sent to a Catholic “home” to have her baby in secret.

The movie, based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena” by Martin Sixsmith details the horror of the life of these girls in the care of nuns, the baby selling, cruelty, lies and deceit.

An occasional tragic situation brought on by a few bad apples?  This is the usual trope trotted out by apologists for the Irish church and “Defenders of the Faith”.

Well this week in Galway, a mass grave was discovered – in an old septic tank.

The septic tank, in Tuam, County Galway, was filled to the brim with the bones of infants.  Eight hundred infants.  The tank is on the grounds of an institution known locally as “The Home”. The Bon Secours nuns operated “The Home” between 1926 and 1961 and over the years housed thousands of unmarried mothers and their “illegitimate” children.

“The tireless work of historian Catherine Corless has revealed that 796 children, the oldest nine years, the youngest two days old, are in that tank. Causes of death include “malnutrition, measles, convulsions, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and pneumonia”. The tank is described as “filled to the brim with tiny bones and skulls”.

“Unmarried mothers incarcerated until they signed over their babies, healthy children sold to be adopted by wealthy Americans and disabled infants, who had no sale value, abandoned in “Dying Rooms”, and their bodies dumped by the brides of Christ in a septic tank.”

“This was a nationwide industry founded on human suffering. In a country utterly corrupted by its own twisted version of Catholicism run by a complicit elite, young women who “fell pregnant” were condemned. They had sinned and were left to the mercy of perverts and brutes. Their children were a tainted commodity to be sold or discarded at the whim of people considered “religious”.

A further horror is that it seems highly unlikely this site was the only mother and baby home which starved infants and crammed their tiny bodies into unmarked graves. The dead children must number in the thousands.

Young pregnant girls were forced to work for years after the birth of their children to repay the church for taking them in.  They were hired out as cleaning girls and laundry workers.  All this while the state was paying the church for their care.

Healthy infants from these “fallen women” were sold, mostly to wealthy American Catholics.  Unhealthy, ill or babies which did not attract a buyer were starved and died of infectious disease, malnutrition of pneumonia.  Their bodies were hidden away in a septic tank.

This is the church which cares so much for the unborn

Ireland was warned in 1946 by none other than Irish born Father Edward Flanagan, founder of Boys Town in Omaha.  Flanagan, visiting the land of his birth was horrified by what he saw, denouncing Ireland’s treatment of children in Church and State care as “a scandal, un-Christlike, and wrong”.   He spoke loudly of the evils he saw and was ignored by the church and state.

Today the Irish government and the church would rather not talk at all about the “homes”.  I’ve read nothing about the septic tank save in the Irish press and blogs.  I guess 800 babies in a mass grave in a septic tank is not enough of a story for the our MSM.  Mustn’t get the right wing faithful riled up or feeling put upon.

How many Acts of Contrition would it take to cleanse the soul Father?  How long the Penance?

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “Even Jesus would never forgive what you have done”.

Tonight it is reported by the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post that exit polls indicate the Irish referendum to approve legalization of abortion has been won in a landslide.  Official results wont be available until tomorrow.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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8 Responses to The Irish Referendum on Legalizing Abortion

  1. A horrific past. It’s no wonder Irish women left Ireland in droves over the last century.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jfwknifton says:

    It is eminently arguable that the church in this country has been a force for evil for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. beetleypete says:

    The unspeakable evils of the Catholic Church in Ireland are no surprise. the Magdalene Laundries, the wholesale trade in selling babies, and the casual murder of those sick, or unsuitable.
    If this was any other institution, they would be subject to mass arrest, historical murder and kidnapping charges, and the banning of the organisation.
    As for abortion in Ireland, it has always happened. The women just travelled to England ‘for work’, or ‘visiting relatives’, and got it done here. That, and the thriving backstreet abortionists in every city there.Ireland needs to get into the 20th century, before it can graduate to the 21st.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another great victory for women’s rights.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for that, Frank. I am delighted at the result. It was better than I could have hoped. It was interesting that the church wasn’t very vocal – I think they realise that their record is so poor and their influence over the Irish people so weakened that they would only have made things worse by intervening directly. Having said that, I do feel something for some of the No campaigners. They aren’t all wicked misogynistic bigots – though some of them are! If people believe the soul enters the body at conception, their position has a certain logic based on that premise. I think they’re wrong and I don’t believe that their beliefs should be the basis of legislation, but I do feel a certain sympathy for them. However, one of the most striking statistics coming out from the debate was that some 200,000 Irish women have travelled to Britain to get an abortion since 1983. That’s a staggering figure. Almost a tenth of those who voted in the referendum, on both sides. In other words, there was so much hypocrisy about the official line, that we’re Catholic Ireland and we don’t do abortion. We did and we do. From now on, we’ll do it openly and honestly, in our own country, with proper help and support for the women who are facing such a difficult decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Hi DB – I believe in choice. As you point out, abortion exists in Ireland – and women access it with their feet or with an abortionist with all of the risks involved with the latter. If a person doesn’t believe in abortion well then don’t have one.

      If you want to know why I support choice read my post “Sons” in 4 parts”
      Walk a mile in my late wife’s shoes and tell me you don’t support a woman’s right to choose.

      Best from Florida.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I remember reading the very moving story of your son. As I say, I agree with you on this issue. However, here in Ireland we all – or practically all – have relatives who are on the other side. Many of them are fine people with genuine beliefs which are totally different from mine or yours. So it has been painful and divisive here. But ultimately, women have the right to do what they want with their own bodies and that’s the bottom line.

        Liked by 1 person

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