Two Campaigners Committed to Cause With AM-Ireland-Abortion, Bjt
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ The opposing sides of the abortion battle are led by two mothers, one devoted to the rights of the unborn and the other to the woman’s conscience.
Maxine Brady, 24 and unmarried, is president of the Union of Students in Ireland and leads the pro-choice campaign for the Dec. 3 referendum.
″I have little time to spend with her,″ Brady said, nodding toward Sorchi, her 2-year-old daughter, who came along in the rain in a pink, hooded parka, en route to a train for Belfast and another debate.
″Personally, I’m not so sure I agree with abortion on demand, but there should be the right to choose,″ said Brady, who lives with Sorchi’s father and chose to carry through with an unplanned pregnancy. ″I can’t pass judgment on others.″
Mary Lucey, president of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, has no doubts. A 65-year-old medical doctor, mother of five and many times a grandmother, she has been involved in the right-to-life movement for 40 years.
″I am absolutely committed to life and life is conceived at conception and must be protected by law,″ Lucey said in a telephone interview.
Through their organizations, the two women have tangled in court: Lucey’s group has challenged the abortion information program run by the Union of Students in Ireland in defiance of Irish law.
Both women are lightning rods for the passions generated by the abortion issue.
Sorchi was with her mother last February on a Dublin bus when a women accused Brady of ″helping to kill lives,″ and spat at her.
Brady, a Roman Catholic, takes the criticism in stride. She and Sorchi’s father move once a year to keep some of the hate mail from getting through.
″The Irish Times did a profile of me in August and it said that, when I had a crisis pregnancy, I decided to keep my baby. Somebody circled that paragraph, wrote ‘Slut’ all over the article and sent it to me,″ she said.
Each year, 8,700 children are born out of wedlock in Ireland, representing 16 percent of all births.
As president of the 113,000-member student union, Brady has helped set up the abortion information service and an escort service to meet Irish women traveling to Liverpool.
Unlike Brady, Dr. Lucey is wary of the press and refuses to be interviewed in person. She feels burned by past profiles, such as one in a London newspaper that described her home as ″enclosed by conifer hedges as impenetrable as her righteousness.″
She feels the Supreme Court decision on a 14-year-old girl’s abortion, which precipitated the referendum, compounded the problem and that the teen- ager should have had the child.
Dr. Lucey also criticizes the referendum itself.
Through it, the government is ″telling people it’s not abortion really, it’s only if the mothers’ lives are at risk or if treatments″ are required to save the mother, she said in the telephone interview.
″Well, that’s Hitler. We must have the perfect race. Who is perfect?″