Abortion, travel, democracy and U-turns


Sir, – Many of the most vociferous people who are opposed to respecting a woman’s right to be treated as a full and independent human being, with full bodily integrity equal to that of any other (male) adult, are the very same people who fought against access to contraception to allow women to control their fertility.

They are the same people who opposed their right to a divorce, who fought to block the children’s rights amendment and who campaigned against equal marriage rights for gay men and women.

Is it not obvious that their motivation does not arise from compassion and concern for vulnerable women? In fact, the opposite is the case.

It is in this light that we should evaluate their spectacularly successful, but totally cynical and hypocritical, achievement in enforcing a widespread acquiescence in the use of the emotionally charged term “the baby in the womb”.

This term applies, they assert, even to a one-hour-old foetus, regardless of the circumstances of the impregnation by rape or incest and regardless of whether the girl/woman is 44, 34 or 13 years old.

In all and every circumstances, even if the pregnancy threatens serious harm to the woman’s health the woman must lose her right to be, as any man will always be, in full control of her own body.

The hypocrisy of this abuse of emotive language is evident from the fact that not even the Catholic Church itself has ever acted as though a foetus was “a baby in the womb”, entitled to absolute equality with the woman in whose womb it existed.

Over hundreds of years, multiple thousands of woman have endured miscarriages. Many (and in Ireland, most) of these occurred in Catholic hospitals. Did a priest ever once come to bless or baptise the miscarried “baby”? Was the foetus ever given a “Christian burial” in consecrated ground? Why not? It was because, in truth and in reality, there was an acceptance, even among religious zealots, that a foetus incapable of independent life cannot be sincerely referred to as a “baby”, much less as “a person equal in all respects” to an adult woman. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 3.

Sir, – Letters on the Eighth Amendment go on and on. But they do tend to shout rather than think. In particular the one from Kieran Jordan (March 27th) sounds like shouting; it makes just one point – “the fact that abortion is the killing of innocent defenceless children”.

It is not.

I am sure that if my daughter had been raped as a young teenager I would have had her egg removed, whether fertilised or not. A woman’s egg is much an integral part of her as her little finger and may be removed for good reasons. I suppose Mr Jordan would therefore regard me as being in favour of abortion: so be it.

I am satisfied to accept the consensus belief that 12 weeks is a reasonable period before which we can refer to a viable separate human being. – Yours etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Pro-life campaigners do not need fake news to bolster their case. We have plenty of real ammunition from the grotesque abortion industry worldwide: the sheer scale of the industry, women being forced to have abortions, high abortion rates for Down syndrome babies, the actual horrific details of late-term abortions, the huge profits being earned by abortion practitioners, the harvesting and sale of body parts, very poor standards in some legally operating abortion clinics, incineration of aborted foetuses with the hospital waste.

No, our problem is that so few of these facts make their way into our mainstream media. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – Fintan O’Toole forecasts that a “firestorm of fake news” is coming our way (Opinion, March 27th).

My own forecast is that the Eighth Amendment will remain in the Constitution after the May referendum and Michael Martin will be taoiseach and Mary Lou McDonald will be tánaiste after the next election.

Whether a firestorm of fake news has anything to do with it, I do not know. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 13.