The abortion debate
Sir, – We, the All-Party Pro-life Group at Stormont, wish to point out how current legislative proposals on the matter of abortion may impact upon our own social and policy debates on the same matter here in Northern Ireland.
According to guidelines from our Department of Health, abortion in Northern Ireland is legal where “it is necessary to preserve the life of the woman or there is a risk of real and serious adverse effect on her physical or mental health, which is either long term or permanent”.
We have long known that abortion on any kind of mental health ground has no basis in psychiatric evidence. Hence an important part of our work involves highlighting this particular reality to the general public, medical professionals and legislators. We are extremely concerned that developments in the Houses of the Oireachtas will have a negative impact upon this work. We anticipate pro-choice campaigners citing the Republic of Ireland as a jurisdiction that recognises abortion as a treatment for suicidal ideation. This will serve to undermine our pro-life endeavours and the respect Northern Irish society has towards the unborn child and as such we have written to An Taoiseach to share our concern about a whipped vote on the matter in the coming weeks.
Since the legislative initiative will have negative effects for us we think it important to share our concerns with you on the matter. – Yours, etc,
PAT RAMSEY MLA (Chair);
JIM WELLS MLA (Vice
PAUL GIVAN MLA;
KAREN MCKEVITT MLA;
ROBIN SWANN MLA;
KIERAN McCARTHY MLA
& JIM ALLISTER MLA,
C/o Strand Road,
Sir, – Joseph Wood (June 25th) is right to point out how equivocal the traditions of the Catholic Church are on the inviolability of life. To take one example: during the crusade against the 12th-century Albigensian heresy, an estimated 20,000 persons were put to death on a single morning at Béziers, including women and children. Most of them were entirely innocent and the greatest crime of the “guilty” was that of heresy. The killing of heretics was officially sanctioned in the philosophy of St Thomas Aquinas and St Bernard of Clairvaux, who was directly involved in similar atrocities, is still a revered saint today.
History tells us that the “inviolability of human life” is a humanistic concept arising from the 18th-century Enlightenment, a movement actively opposed by the Catholic Church. So why is it that life only becomes “sacred” in the context of abortion? – Yours, etc,
Dr GERARD MONTAGUE,