I long for a nemesis. They prove inspiring, motivating, and are often a rich source of material. I put out a call some time ago and ickle tayto volunteered but the lack of significant areas of disagreement meant her well-meaning intentions proved counterproductive.
Hoping to find that special someone I flossed, applied finest cologne, ironed a shirt and visited Youth Defence's blog. There I found Tadhg. By Youth Defence standards he's a prolific writer, having provided the internet with over a dozen posts. Like any good nemesis would, he seems to be operating under a pseudonym:
Entitled What if you were the one being chosen?, it starts with the story of Ryan. His pregnant partner Hannah plays a minor supporting role. It's a tragic tale of a man denied his right to make reproductive choices for his girlfriend and focuses on Ryan trying to call Hannah, Ryan going to Hannah's house, Ryan talking to Hannah's parents, Ryan calling Hannah's friends and Ryan driving to several abortion clinics. Hannah, as mere womb support unit, is not given voice in this piece. The injustice of Ryan not having control over Hannah's womb is laid bare for all to see.
Continuing the theme of women not having dominion over their reproductive organs we read the story of Laura. She conceives and her boyfriend of two months does not want her to continue the pregnancy. Her parents also decide against and Laura is forced to have an abortion. Here Tim or Tadhg fundamentally misunderstands the pro choice position. I believe women should have autonomy over their own bodies. He and those who would force abortions on others share the belief that women's bodies should be under the ultimate control of society. They differ only in choosing forced birth or forced abortion. His criticism is of his own world view, not mine.
A second failing is its relevance to the Irish abortion debate. Our current laws do not affect this scenario in any measurable degree. Access to abortion is only a problem for the young, the poor, and those who would not wish to be shamed by their own nation into crossing borders; our laws merely require that Laura's parents pay for a Ryanair ticket while robbing their daughter of her reproductive choices. It's farcical to suggest that Youth Defence's efforts to prevent legal clarity for doctors dealing with life threatening conditions could affect this scenario one iota. I'm left uncertain that Tim or Tadhg is against women having a choice in pregnancy. He writes as if he's never entertained the notion that they may wish one.
Making a rather awkward segue back to the subject of his title, he closes with the question "Would you like it if your mother or father had wanted you to be aborted? Would you like it if your grandfather and grandmother had wanted you to be aborted?"
I quite enjoy existing. It affords me many pleasures that alternatives do not. But let us examine other scenarios - would I like it if, some 33 years ago, my parents had been too tired from their days' labour to combine sperm and egg? Either scenario would inhibit my existence, yet I stand against any legal obligation on them to produce offspring. The sperm cell to whom I owe half my DNA likely swam alongside 375 million brothers and sisters. Would I like it if, some 33 years ago, another had won the race? I would also not exist yet cannot imagine a legal solution that would guarantee my coming to be. Tadhg or Tim cannot argue with coherence that his question applies uniquely to abortion. If anything it supports forced sex for all couples of fertile age and presupposes the loss of billions of potential people each second.
Tim, Tadhg, I'm afraid it just isn't working out. We had a fun time of course, but you're just not what I'm looking for in a nemesis. To be clear, it's not me, it's you. I wish you well. If I may offer a final piece of advice: it's best not to use stock images that also feature in articles on erectile dysfunction, ejaculation disorders and inhibited sexual desire. Hypotheses on the procedure used to choose said images may be unkind.