Wednesday 28 November 2012

Get the SPUC out of my country!

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child are an interesting lot. They're a UK based group who have taken a keen interest in Ireland's laws and referendums over the past 30 years. When the country voted on the 8th Amendment SPUC were there - this was the attempt to ensure that Ireland remained abortion free forever more. They were also joined by groups with quaint names such as The Responsible Society (another British based organisation), The Council of Social Concern, The Irish Family League and a host of others all sounding as if they had just walked out of the 19th century along with the 1861 Offences against the Person Act, which, I might add, is still causing problems over a century and a half later. SPUC alongside supporting the Pro-Life amendment were also responsible for showing videos depicting abortion in hundreds of schools around the country. Throughout the 1980s, SPUC used the constitutional amendment in the courts to close down women’s counselling centres on the basis that providing information on abortion breached the rights of the unborn. In 1989 SPUC brought The Union of Students Ireland including Ivana Bacik, to court and threatened imprisonment for giving information to young women with crisis pregnancies.

At every Referendum in this country SPUC has been waiting in the wings. When the X-Case occurred in 1992 SPUC maintained that decision of the Supreme Court was perverse and that the Supreme Court, contrary to all reasonable expectations, allowed abortions in the case of threatened suicide. SPUC have been involved in campaigning against both of Ireland's divorce referenda. They called for Irish Catholics to vote 'No' in the Lisbon and Nice referenda. They even weighed in on our Presidential Election last year calling on the Irish people to vote for Dana, with John Smeaton, their director, stating in his blog "I pray that all Irish citizens who care about Ireland's historic defence of the sanctity of human life, and that all Irish citizens who care about defending their constitution, will get behind Dana's bid for the presidency." After Michael D. Higgins was elected President, Smeaton ran a full blog post on him asking 'Our Lady of Knock' and St. Patrick to pray for the Irish people as we would soon see the mistake we made in not voting for the good Catholic Dana. SPUC even decided that a 'No' vote was needed in our recent Children's Referendum saying that "(the) amendment, if passed, could potentially be a disaster for Irish families" and called upon Ireland's Catholic bishops "to do all they can to persuade the Irish people that such a constitutional change is not in the best interests of Irish families ".(Ah yes the Bishops, having already done so much for the best interests of Irish families as far as children are concerned)
It even hurts Michael D's head to think about this
We have a British based group that takes a somewhat unhealthy interest in the dealing of their neighbour, but who exactly are they? And who follows them? 
Enter Geoff @geoffsshorts who has the skill and patience to follow these things up and collate data. Now Geoff has previously run up the stats on Irish pro-life groups who *feigns surprise* all turned out to have a predominantly US based following. 
So what would we expect of a UK based pro-life group? That they would have a predominately UK based following - wrong. Pro-life groups this side of the water are yet again made up of predominantly US followers *sigh*

While there is a significant number of unknowns I think it is safe to say that not all of the unknowns will be from the UK. 
It is also interesting to note that despite SPUC's keen interest in Ireland the feeling is obviously not mutual, with only thirty six Irish followers. Looking at Geoff's spreadsheets of followers of SPUC, I found that about half of these thirty-six are pro-life/religious groups as opposed to individual people and a number of the others appear to be spammers. Flattering and all as it is that these groups are taking an interest in us, don't you ever wish sometimes that they'd just leave us the SPUC alone?

Thanks again to Geoff @Geoffsshorts for offering up the data on SPUC :)


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