Will Friday next bring an end to the Abortion question?

Will next Friday’s vote bring the debate about abortion to an end in this country? Absolutely not.
Let me make a few predictions:

If the NO vote wins………..
The committed YES campaigners will not give up. We will be bombarded with ‘hard stories’ and lurid descriptions of the ‘sad journey to England’.
Despite the fact that the Taoiseach would probably respond by saying that the people had spoken, and that was it (and, I suspect, breathe a sigh of relief at getting that off the agenda) the campaign to have a re-run of the referendum would begin. I expect it would happen within five years.
Also, there would be great anger among some women, in particular. And it is a natural instinct, when angry, to find someone to blame. The Church will again be an easy target, even if it did not involve itself as much in the campaign as in previous times. Mass goers, who voted YES (I know some Church people find it hard to believe that could happen, but many will) and who sat through a campaign speech during Mass may decide that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and stop going to church.
What I would most fear would be a sour atmosphere in the country that would put a pall over the Pope’s visit. I would hate that, because Francis deserves a warm welcome, no matter our particular national disputes.

If the YES vote wins ………..
The NO campaigners will certainly not give up the fight. And what I believe will be the real fight about abortion will still have to happen — the framing of legislation.
No matter what outline of legislation the present government has presented, I don’t believe we should give it much credence, for the simple reason that there is about one chance in a hundred that they would get around to passing anything on this topic before the next election. It would be a long and difficult process getting such legislation through the Oireachtas. Can you imagine the rows there would be in various committees.
The next election will almost certainly be within a year, probably in the Spring of 2019. Just think of the government schedule in the meantime. By the time the referendum is over, and the result has been digested, we will be up against the summer break. The autumn will be taken up with two major issues, the budget and Brexit, and of course the permanent problem of the health services. After Christmas the build up to the election will already be in the air. Politicians are not fools; can you imagine them grappling with such a difficult and controversial piece of legislation just before the election. Not a chance.
So it will be the task of the next government.
While I am at it, let me carry my predictions a little further. The most likely make-up of the next government will be a coalition between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein. (Sinn Fein are ready to go in with anybody, because they are tired of opposition; FF would have to move Michael Martin aside, but most of them would have little or no problem with coalition with Sinn Fein).

Would that government tackle the thorny question of abortion. My guess is that they wouldn’t. So the matter would be left hanging for many years.