Our Correspondent Tómas Heneghan argues that in the aftermath of the Ms Y case, the public must understand both side's arguments before developing an opinion.
Since August this year both pro-life and pro-choice groups in Ireland have claimed the Ms Y incident as monstrous and deplorable. The Ms Y affair can’t be claimed as a tragedy by both sides though, can it? 
 
The reasoning from both sides desperately needs to be broken down; otherwise we can’t truly understand the intentions of either side.
 
Pro-choice campaigners believe Ms Y, the young immigrant impregnated by rape, should have been granted her requested abortion when she first asked for one. In their eyes the legislation which led to her giving birth prematurely caused the situation. 
 
Another reason, in their minds, is to have the legislation thrown out and the constitution changed to allow for less restrictive laws on abortion in Ireland.
 
Pro-life campaigners, especially groups such as Youth Defence, on the other hand claim the Ms Y incident as a tragedy for the baby boy born prematurely. They have all but claimed him as their martyr of the year, naming him Baby Hope. 
 
Recently representatives from the group delivered cards and letters to the Department of Health on behalf of the young baby. They have both named and spoken for him.
 
But what is it that they wish had happened to the child? Strictly speaking they have yet to actually say openly and clearly what they would have preferred. 
 
Realistically speaking there were only 3 options available for the medics who intervened in Ms Y’s case:
 
Option A: Carry out an abortion on Ms Y. The result would be Ms Y relieved of one of the causes of her agony and a dead foetus (or baby, depending on how you see things).
 
Option B: Carry out an early delivery of Ms Y’s pregnancy. The result here is that Ms Y would be relieved of her pregnancy and there is no dead foetus/baby.

Could this have been the middle-ground? This situation would not have been ideal for anyone, but was a clear compromise, especially considering the legal constraints.
 
Option C: Imprison Ms Y in a hospital for several months until her pregnancy reached 9 months. As she was suicidal due to the pregnancy, this would also mean stopping her from harming herself or inducing a miscarriage somehow.
 
It appears as though option C is the one groups such as Youth Defence would have sought. This is not being unfair or unreasonable to the group. It is certainly not misrepresenting their intentions. They were and remain terribly unhappy that the child was delivered early and make a point of emphasising the difficulties he may face in the future as a result of his premature birth. 
 
Viewing the situation logically, the only other option was abortion, an action they would certainly have found far more abhorrent.
 
It boils down to this: Pro-choice campaigners believe Ms Y should have been granted an abortion in Ireland; pro-life campaigners appear to believe she should have been forcibly kept pregnant, no matter how that affected her liberty or health. 
 
This is the stark reality of the dominant branches of each side of the debate. Both sides might sometimes, or regularly, dance around the issue and their proposed alternatives; however the reality is a simple one.
 
If you think Ms Y should have been granted an abortion on Irish soil when she asked for one, then maybe consider standing outside Leinster House on the evening of Wednesday 17th this month and support Clare Daly’s Bill to seek a referendum on abortion in Ireland. 
 
Alternatively, if you believe Ms Y should have been incarcerated in a hospital and forcibly kept pregnant for several months, then sign Baby Hope cards groups that groups such as Youth Defence would encourage you to sign.
 
The matter is not simple. Every incident of abortion and pregnancy is complicated. There is no black and white. Ms Y faced a very difficult decision after horrific torture and she made the decision she could live with, the decision which she believed would save her life. 
 
Instead she was denied her request and all but forced to prematurely deliver her baby. She survived, yes, but can it truly be said she was treated humanely?
 
Ireland knows what pro-life and pro-choice campaigners wanted in 1992 with the Ms X case. We now know what they wanted in the Ms C case in 1997. We can deduce what they hoped for in the wake of Savita Halappanavar’s death. 
 
And now we must cut through the long-winded sentences and talk of the so-called right to life versus bodily autonomy or health, and recognise what both sides would have preferred for Ms Y. 
 
This is the reality of the Irish abortion wars. If you are picking a side, be sure you understand them before you tie your flag to their mast.

Photo: José Manuel Ríos Valiente/ Flickr