From the Left



Catholic Ireland is More progressive Than America About Abortion

Dick Polman on

A whopping 64 percent – including 72 percent of women – voted to junk the constitution’s ban. Legal abortion won every age bracket except voters 65 and older, and even 63 percent of the voters in rural counties, where church influence was arguably strongest, said Yes as well. Thirty nine of the nation’s 40 voting districts signaled Yes.

The state minister of health, Simon Harris, approvingly declared that the people of Ireland “want to live in a country that treats women with compassion.” The prime minister, Leo Vadakar, said the vote tally was “the culmination of a quiet revolution that has taken place in Ireland over the past 10 to 20 years. We trust women, and we respect them to make the right decisions for their healthcare.”

Last Friday, Orla O’Connor, an Irish women’s rights activist, recalled that historic referendum: “People had a sense of the legacy of the past, particularly in terms of the Church and how the Church had treated women, but there was a sense that we were not that Ireland anymore.”

Gee, if only American voters had the opportunity to decide for themselves what kind of America they wanted and whether women should be allowed to control their own bodies. We know darn well what the majority would say. But alas, there’s no referenda mechanism here.

I never thought I’d see the day when a modernized Ireland, in a democratic spirit, would embrace social-justice Catholicism – while America, via theocratic fiat, would fall prey to the religion’s most backward misogyny.



Copyright 2022 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Dick Polman, a veteran national political columnist based in Philadelphia and a Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, writes at Email him at

I can’t help but notice that the six Supreme Court justices who criminalized abortion were all raised Catholic.

It’s quite galling (the mildest adjective I can conjure) that they’ve overturned settled law and relegated American women to second-class status by unleashing their worst theocratic impulses. It’s the kind of arrogant fiat you might expect to see in a traditional backwater where Catholic diktats rule the roost – a country like, say, Ireland.


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