Three-day reflection and abortion law

Specific supports are needed

A chara, – I note Dr Peter Boylan’s letter regarding the outcomes for the over 1,400 women who attended for a first termination of pregnancy consultation but, on the basis of available information, did not proceed with the termination (Letters, December 7th).

In a time when we as doctors aim to practise evidence-based medicine, future research will hopefully identify any specific supports needed for this group of women who decide to continue with their pregnancy. This might also serve to illuminate any benefit they have experienced from the three-day wait. – Is mise,


Health Centre,




Co Wexford.

A chara, – Dr Peter Boylan, advocating that abortion be made even easier to obtain here, states that “there are no other medical procedures in Ireland which mandate a waiting period”.

It is also true that there are no other medical procedures in Ireland which result in the deliberate ending of a human life. – Is mise,


Dublin 2.

A chara, – Dr Peter Boylan writes: “The Doctors for Life group are correct that there is ‘no medical basis’ for the three-day waiting period before women in Ireland are able to access legal termination of pregnancy services”.

That is not what the Doctors for Life letter said. Rather, it said: “Despite the personal and campaigning opinions being expressed in favour of scrapping the three-day waiting period, there is no medical basis for doing so.”

Dr Boylan goes on to say: “The mandatory three-day waiting period for a legal abortion was included for political reasons and has no medical basis.”

He seems unaware that there may be compelling valid non-medical reasons for such a delay.

There are many relevant social and/or economic factors which motivate a decision to wait.

On abortion, the Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment (2:38) said clearly in 2018: “the majority of terminations are for socio-economic reasons that are unrelated to foetal abnormality or to rape”.

A survey by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute in 2004, “Reasons US women have abortions”, reached a similar conclusion. “Possible problems affecting the health of the fetus” were at 13 per cent, and “physical problem with my health” at 12 per cent. The overwhelming majority of reasons were social and economic.

The big failure of government, and of the Citizens’ Assembly, in the debate leading to repeal of the Eighth Amendment was to see only a medical “solution” to largely non-medical tragic situations of crisis pregnancy.

Compassion was pleaded as the motivation for this. In cases of crisis pregnancy, there may be medical basis for treating the mother in order to safeguard her life and health which sadly results also in the death of the unborn child. There is no medical basis for intentionally ending the life of the unborn child where the basis of the difficulty is social and/or economic rather than medical. This is a denial of compassion with no medical basis. – Is mise,



Dublin 16.