John Clark is an author and speechwriter. His first book Who’s Got You? reached #1 in the Amazon Kindle “Fatherhood” category and his new book How to Be a Superman Dad in a Kryptonite World, Even When You Can’t Afford A Decent Cape was just released by Guiding Light Books. He has written hundreds of articles and blogs about Catholic family life and apologetics in such places as Seton Magazine, Catholic Digest, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. A graduate of Christendom College, John and his wife Lisa have nine children and live in Virginia.
I recently read an editorial in which a man described what life was like for women in a certain country. In his view, the nation “has stripped women of their human rights”; has “inflicted indignity and abuse on women for generations, and on a grand scale”; has “exiled [women] overseas instead of cared for [them] with respect and compassion”; denies “basic human rights to women and girls”; and sees men drop off their “girlfriends, wives, daughters, sisters and mothers” at the airport to take lonely flights go have abortions. In short, it is a country in which women face a dismal existence yet many men don’t seem to give a damn.
Where is such a place? Saudi Arabia? North Korea? Sudan?
According to actor Liam Neeson—in a May 6 editorial—this is what life is like in Ireland. Why is life in Ireland so bad? Neeson lays the problem at the feet of Ireland’s 8th Amendment to its Constitution. The Amendment reads:
The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
The solution, in Neeson’s view, is for voters to overturn this Amendment. By this logic, the way to restore dignity, respect, and compassion to Ireland is to remove the legal right to life of the unborn—which would, of course, pave the way for all kinds and methods of abortion: early term, late term, partial birth and so on. And though the proponents of repealing the 8th Amendment claim to be all about the rights of women, it’s worth pondering that repealing the amendment would strike the words “with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother” from the Constitution. How wise is that excision?
Neeson further assures his readers: “There's nothing wrong in not knowing everything there is to know about abortion.” On the ladder of condescension, that’s one rung up from: Don’t worry your pretty little head about it. To Neeson’s point, while one need not know everything about abortion, it sure would help if one knew something about abortion, like the fact that around the 15th day of pregnancy, procured abortion stops a beating heart. Or the fact that the Catholic Church—the favorite bogeyman of the repeal crowd in the Irish amendment debate—provides free psychological counseling to thousands of women after their abortions. These are the women that the abortion industry no longer cares about, their money having been secured with the death of their baby.
Perhaps it is unfair to subject Neeson’s letter to logical scrutiny; after all, his editorial was not widely read for its sparkling prose, but primarily for the fact that he is a famous actor. Therein, however, lies the irony. In so many of Neeson’s movies, he portrays heroic characters who stand up for the defenseless and speak powerful truths. For instance:
- “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.” (Schindler’s List)
- “Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.” (Kingdom of Heaven)
- “Give us back our country: to live in, to grow in, to love. (Michael Collins)
After seeing some of Neeson’s movies, and then reading his editorial, it might make pro-life fans of his acting feel like they got taken.