Firstly, this is in current affairs simply because it ranges across politics, media and other issues.
Secondly, This is NOT about the substantive issue of abortion and whether it is good or bad. This is ENTIRELY about the public response. So could we (please) discuss the reaction and NOT the substantive issue. (Some hope I know. But it is worth asking.)
OK. Here goes.
I have been rather surprised at the lack of public reaction to the government's decision on the X case. While the hardcore has reacted as they always do (from the pro-life Ronan Mullen/David Quinn/Catholic priests side to the National Women's Council/Ivana Bacik/pro-choice side) with their standard reactions (i) fury, (ii) outrage, (iii) accusations) the middle ground has been astonishingly quiet.
Take a couple of examples.
Local radio attracts 50% of the audience. Its phone-in shows are big business. They follow national stories in detail. Yet local radio talk in show had a quite muted response to the government decision. Some stations expected to have tons of calls from 'angry housewife from the midlands'/'furious Mass going Catholic'/'Joe the ordinary man who is outraged' types - the standard fare of local radio.
Stations in many cases had their programmes ready for the wall-to-wall fury reaction.
It didn't happen. Hardly anyone called in.
Some of the stations ended up, if you will pardon the expression, aborting their plans to discuss the issue when they got a reaction of 'meh' to the issue and people were more concerned with economic or other issues.
Ditto on Liveline. People who remember the last abortion debates will remember Liveline jammered with calls on the issue. Yet callers wanted to talk about other issues, not abortion.
I remember in the past during major controversies you would overhear people talking about the issues on buses, in shops, everywhere. When we had big controversies in recent years texts would be flying around. Facebook would be talking about it. Ditto with twitter.
Yet today I didn't hear a SINGLE person anywhere mention the issue. It seems to me that other than the hardcore on each side most people aren't tuned into it.
In fact I heard more mentions of Rylan on X-Factor than the government's decision on abortion today!!!
So why is this?
Is it that we are all focused on the economy?
Is it, as someone I was talking to about the lack of reaction suggested, because the pro-life side have had so many referendums and so many controversies that people on the ground are fed up with the issue and just blank it when it comes up - a kind of crying wolf: that the pro-life side has predicted so many times that every vote and every decision would bring in abortion on demand only for it not to happen that they no longer are listened to?
Is the lack of interest reflective of a collapse in religious belief and so a concern with what religious people perceive as life and death issues to do with morality?
Is it that society thinks the legislation should have been enacted long ago and don't see the reason for the controversy?
What is your explanation for the silence?