Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Baby Ali - giving thanks for her birth

Baby Ali with her grandmother

When Ali was born, 64 years ago today on 8 January 1955, who would have known what lay ahead for her?  Who would have known what an inspiring life she would lead and how many lives she would touch?

Just to be born nowadays is an achievement, with one in five babies not being allowed to see the light of day because "choice" is rated higher than human life itself.  For babies born with spina bifida the prejudice is so great that 90% are aborted.  After Ali became aware, in the early 1980s, of the great injustice towards unborn children, she spent the rest of her life defending their right to life.

After Ali's death I came across a short video on YouTube, taken from a TV programme in the Republic of Ireland, broadcast on 25 August 1983, shortly before the September 1983 referendum that brought constitutional protection to unborn children.  Ali does not speak in the YouTube excerpt and I do not know if she spoke in the programme itself. It would have been one of Ali's first appearances on television, if not her first.  She makes a couple of brief appearances in the audience after 1 minute 40 seconds.

25 August 1983: Abortion Referendum TV debate in Eire
Ali would have been dismayed by the Irish referendum result last year that removed constitutional protection for unborn children, and by the law subsequently passed that came into effect just one week ago on 1st January 2019.  The new law allows abortion on demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and indicates a range of grounds for abortion at any time during pregnancy (as does the UK law).

While the new law specifically allows abortion at any time of gestation - i.e., right up until birth - for those babies who are expected (maybe rightly; maybe wrongly) to have a very short life after birth,  abortion campaigners claimed they were not promoting abortion more generally on grounds of disability.  It is, however, impossible to maintain that the right to life of disabled babies, as well as other babies,  has not been greatly undermined by the change in the law.

Mothers in Ireland expecting babies in difficult circumstances will come under pressure to abort - as happens in the UK.  Mothers expecting disabled babies will come under pressure - as in the UK.  May Ali's life be a witness and an encouragement, to mothers in the UK, Ireland and everywhere , to always be on the side of life.

Ali was born 12 years before the UK's Abortion Act was enacted.  In today's world, we have to be so very thankful that she had the opportunity even to be born.