(TD stands for Teachta Dála, and is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament).
"When a politician in good conscience promises matter and on such a fundamental issue, she could not in conscience support what was proposed."
Ms. Creighton voted against a section of her party's Bill, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy. The section was on the risk of loss of life from suicide. She was automatically expelled from her party. She had been a member of Fine Gael since she was 18. She is now 33.
She had an amazing speech before the vote that is well worth the read. Here is only a small part of that speech:
"...I have never regarded myself as a pro-life campaigner. I was not motivated to become active in politics because of the abortion issue. In fact I have spoken previously about the fact that I held a very different view on this matter when I was a student.
However, after much reflection, my views have evolved over the years; as I learned more about the topic, as I came in contact with friends and family affected by abortion, and as I matured and developed my own independent analysis of this most sensitive topic.
Crucially for me I stepped outside the “groupthink” which I genuinely believe dominates this debate in Ireland. It seems that if you do not succumb to the accepted view that abortion is a “liberal issue”, a “women’s rights issue”, a cornerstone of the “progressive agenda”, then you are deemed to be a backward, illiberal, Neanderthal fundamentalist who belongs to a different era. The distinct irony of this prevailing view, is that it is so illiberal in its intolerance of any alternative outlook.
Yet, when one steps back from the stifling groupthink, and reflects, I think one arrives at a different view. I am a woman and I am happy to say that I am also very much in favour of women’s rights. But by that I mean all women. Not just adults or adolescents or children – I mean babies too.
The sad reality, as we look around the globe at how women’s rights are advocated, promoted and defended, it is clear to me that abortion is in fact, often a tool for the oppression of women.
Look at China, India, Korea and indeed some parts of Europe and the United States. The societal preference for boys over girls has led to the obliteration of tens of millions of baby girls who were simply never born. A famous feature carried by the Economist magazine in 2010 showed just how females are discriminated against in this age of abortion.
One paragraph from that edition of the Economist jumped out at me and frightened me:
Until the 1980s people in poor countries could do little about this preference: before birth, nature took its course. But in that decade, ultrasound scanning and other methods of detecting the sex of a child before birth began to make their appearance. These technologies changed everything. Doctors in India started advertising ultrasound scans with the slogan “Pay 5,000 rupees ($110) today and save 50,000 rupees tomorrow” (the saving was on the cost of a daughter’s dowry). Parents who wanted a son, but balked at killing baby daughters, chose abortion in their millions.
It would be bizarre if we, as legislators and hopefully, as thinkers, did not ask the obvious question “What is the net difference” between such screening followed by intentional gender-based abortion, and the intentional killing of that baby after delivery? The answer is of course none.
The net effect is exactly the same, which is to say that an innocent baby, is simply wiped out. The scale of this exercise is such that in China, by the year 2020, there will be 30-40 million less women than men walking the earth, growing up, having families, going to work and generally contributing to society . 30-40 million less women is hardly a triumph for feminism or liberalism..."
The woman lost her high-profile political job, because she had to be true to her beliefs.
Here is her statement after losing her job:
“I am deeply disappointed to have to vote against the Government’s abortion Bill today. I never wished or expected to be expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party. This is the party I have worked for unstintingly since I was 18 years old. I will, of course, continue to be a Fine Gael member.
I feel deeply and strongly that aspects of this Bill are based on flawed logic and absolutely zero medical evidence. I could not vote for it, particularly in light of Fine Gael’s clear commitment not to introduce abortion prior to the last election. Promises matter in politics, but particularly in relation to matters of life and death. This is a promise I could not renege on in any circumstances.
I believe that I have made the correct decision."
Quite the courageous person. Quite the courageous, young female political person, who also just happened to be a Minister. What a great example for Canadian female MPs.