Debate On Abortion


Sir, - I agree with Medb Ruane (July 21st) that late-term abortions are unacceptable but find it startling the manner in which she proceeds to invent her own arbitrary time limits for the purposes of denying the humanity of the unborn child at earlier stages of development.

She says "on any scale there is a qualitative difference between an embryo of 10 weeks and a foetus of 24 weeks". This is a weak argument to justify deliberate abortion at 10 weeks or at any stage. The only difference between the two stages of life is growth and development. The same argument could be used to compare a new born baby or an adolescent with a mature adult.

Incidentally, contrary to what Ms Ruane states, Ireland's abortion rate, while unacceptably high to us, is still one of the lowest in Europe. While the issue poses immense challenges to society, the notion of introducing abortion legislation to address the reality completely defies logic.

Surely, the more appropriate response is to provide caring agencies with the resources to offer women with crisis pregnancies positive alternatives to abortion. As the recent Trinity report Women and Crisis Preg- nancy shows, many of the factors which pressurise women into choosing abortion are amenable to social and financial supports.

The chilling ease with which "lunchtime" abortions have become part of everyday life in Britain should force us to pause and reflect on how we can better use our energies to restore some respect for the intrinsic value of each and every human life. - Yours, etc.,

Cora Sherlock, Wilton Place, Dublin 2.