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The Iona Blog

Mary O'Rourke - Agony Aunt

Author: David Quinn
Date: Jan 26 2013

In case you didn’t know, Mary O’Rourke is an ‘agony aunt’ for The Irish Independent weekend magazine. This weekend, she was giving advice to a woman who had an abortion after a one-night stand.

The woman describes how she had her abortion five years ago. She says she “already feels guilty” about it and the current debate about abortion is making her “feel a whole lot worse”.

She says she become pregnant “after a one-night stand with a workmate”. She never told him and still sees him everyday at work.

The woman describes how, when she told friends about her abortion, “some were very supportive” but “one was really judgmental” and told her she had done the “wrong thing”.

This made her “shut down completely” and now she says she feels as if she is “carrying this huge guilty secret around with me”.

She concludes: “The whole thing was traumatic enough without the constantly pointing fingers. I don’t know where to turn”.

Mary O’Rourke advice is, needless to say, completely non-judgemental. She expresses no opinion whatever about the rightness or wrongness of abortion, not even in a situation such as this where it is clearly a ‘social’ abortion.

Obviously Mary should not condemn this woman but it’s a bit of a worry that she can’t find someway to express some level of misgiving about the death of the baby.

Perhaps the woman feels guilty because deep down she knows she really did do something wrong and therefore feels guilty for a reason? Perhaps the only way to resolve this is to admit she did wrong and then seek forgiveness. Perhaps this is the best possible advice Mary can give her.

But no, instead, true to the doctrine of ‘respect your choice at all costs’ Mary advises her to go and see a therapist and to talk it through with him or her.

This woman is, in fact, a victim of the huge changes in social mores brought about by the sex revolution.

The consequent ubiquity of casual sex means that there are many ‘one-night stands’ and in a large number of cases a pregnancy will result and the woman will likely feel alone and probably ill-used.

The temptation to resort to abortion will be enormous.

There is almost certainly no going back to the once almost universal norm of no sex outside marriage, but if we managed to reduce the amount of casual sex that takes place by moving towards a norm of no sex outside a committed relationship then far fewer women would find themselves faced with the type of situation faced by this woman.

The real tragedy is that so few people seem able to connect the dots and to see that what lands huge numbers of women in this sort of situation is the radical change in sexual behaviour inaugurated by the sex revolution.

The pity is that Mary can’t seem to see it either. Does she really have no misgivings at all about the sea-change in social attitudes that leads to this type of scenario with monotonous regularity and tragic consequences?

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