Monday, 4 October 2010

Swimming against the tide.

No, the title of the blog does not mean the fish is trying to swim upstream when everything else is on its way down ( though it sounds like the kind of thing said fish would do.) The tide is that of public opinion which gets mightily offended when everything in its path does not sweep nicely along with it. Dissenters there are and, let us hope, always will be. But the majority of people follow like sheep and stifle their opinions for the sake of popularity. Not so Virgina Ironside, agony aunt, and now, the fish imagines, public hate figure.

The Daily Mail reports that in a television interview on a Sunday morning God slot Virginia declared she would suffocate a suffering child to spare it further pain and went on to suggest a loving mother who chooses to abort a disabled or unwanted child is committing a 'moral and unselfish act.' (And before the shouting gets too loud let me say Yes, she does have a child and grandchildren.)

I think Virginia is brave to vaunt such unpopular opinions, especially before a bona fide reverend. But surely she is putting the cart a little before the horse? A loving mother, or someone who hopes to be one someday, would surely use contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy in place one? (We all know contraception has it's failings but ten out of ten for trying). As to Virgina's apparent altruism in declaring better abortion than a lifetime of physical suffering that begs a very delicate question of who decides how much is too much? My partner's niece died recently at age only 37, after a lifetime of suffering. She led a full and happy life, surrounded by the love of family, having two children of her own. Was her mother less loving for not denying her the chance for such a life?

When lines have to be drawn on moral issues there are always experts, self and society appointed, queueing up with the yardsticks of their choice. Moral issues are never black and white, they are murkier than dishwater. Virginia would end her child's suffering, if that child were mine I do not think I could do anything to hurry on his/her end, though I would give the last drop of my blood to alleviate their suffering in any other way. Who is right? As this debate began on a religious programme lets leave the last word to Jesus Christ 'judge not lest ye be jud

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