Sir, - Mary Holland (January 23rd) makes the understandable mistake of many writers on the subject of abortion. She assumes that because there are some occasions where most people might agree that an abortion is reasonable, e.g. rape cases, it is therefore possible to have a society in which abortion is available in only such restricted circumstances.

Experience elsewhere would contradict this. In the UK, the 1967 Act was intended only to allow abortion in restricted situations. Hence the requirement for two doctors to certify it as necessary.

The mistake made was that the mother's mental health was an allowable reason, as well as her physical health. This has been trivialised to cover any case where the mother says she could not cope with another baby, etc. It has become another form of contraception. Those who now defend a woman's right to choose, may feel that no health issues are relevant. Nevertheless, they are now fighting with the status quo on their side.

It is naive to imagine that in Ireland, we could foresee how any similar legislation would be interpreted in future. It is always likely to be the thin end of the wedge. Far better that a few women who might have a good case for an abortion here have to go elsewhere, than that large numbers of Irish babies in future get killed because they would be an inconvenience to their parents. - Yours, etc.,


Co Galway.