Abortion and privacy


Sir, – Eighteen years ago this month, I received the most devastating news that an expectant woman could possibly receive. I was told half way through my pregnancy that the baby we loved, had planned for, and were looking forward to welcoming into our lives, had no prospect of surviving. Unless I chose to continue with the pregnancy, no-one in the hospital or in Ireland could help me.

My husband and I ultimately made the heartbreaking decision that the option most suited to us in our circumstances was to end the pregnancy, a decision we kept secret from all but our most trusted friends and immediate family. A look through your letters pages this week provides clues as to why.

Fr Gregory O’Brien (Letters, February 20th) describes our difficult but ultimately compassionate decision as “uncivilised and barbaric.”

Further letters on February 21st double down by calling on protesters and picketers to gather outside medical facilities that are today providing care to women like me.

Elsewhere in broadcast media, I heard attempts to rebrand pickets of medical facilities as “vigils”, as though a vigil is some benign activity – it means “keep watch” and has the same etymology as vigilante. They call it praying. I call it preying.

The last thing I needed when standing on the steps of the National Maternity Hospital, devastated and bewildered, was anyone keeping watch, protesting, picketing or in any way intruding into my private grief. – Yours, etc,


Co Wicklow.