Referendum on the Eighth Amendment

 

Sir, – A very liberal abortion regime has always been the goal of the international abortion lobby. The strategy employed in this country involves repealing the Eighth Amendment. The lobbying template has been very successful so far in every country where it has been employed. The formula is a simple one. Find some rare tragic cases and exploit them mercilessly. Create confusion in the public mind. Get the celebrities, journalists and media trendies on board. Smear your opponents as backward and regressive. Above all, keep repeating the compassion mantra. Bingo – it works every time.

Let us be clear about what will happen in this country if the Eighth Amendment is repealed. The Government has already stated that this will be abortion on demand up to 12 weeks gestation. No reason required. The legislation can of course be revised at any time in the future without any need for a referendum.

The constant use of the word “choice”, the epitome of consumer culture, by the abortion lobby, would be more appropriately confined to the aisles of our supermarkets as it should play no part medically, morally or ethically in determining the fate of an unborn child.

For the sake of future generations and for the greater good, vote No. – Yours, etc,

GERALD LEAHY,

Mallow,

Co Cork.

Sir, – As an Irish woman expecting my first baby, the debates on the upcoming referendum have taken on a new and personal dimension to me. With a first pregnancy comes a lot of unknowns – excitement but also anxiety about things that might go wrong. What I don’t have to worry about, as an almost “first-time mum”, is the risk of my life being put in danger because of a misguided and deeply damaging paragraph in the Constitution. Nor do I have to worry about having to travel to another country, should something go wrong with my pregnancy. Why? Because I happen to live in Belgium, where women’s health comes first. My health is a right not a privilege.

Pregnancy, planned or not, is a deeply personal experience and women should be trusted to make decisions which are right for them, whatever their reasons. The people of Ireland are a compassionate people, and I am hopeful that they will do the right thing and vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment. – Yours, etc,

STÉPHANIE O’KEEFFE,

Brussels.

Sir, – Politicians such as Minister for Health Simon Harris have claimed that their abortion proposals would make abortion “safe, legal and rare”. This claim, that should abortion be legalised on demand in Ireland it would be safe and rare, is utter nonsense. The truth is that abortion would be legal, unsafe and common.

Abortion, the deliberate destruction of a baby in the womb, is never safe, as it kills the baby and often damages the mother’s mental health. Sadly, in their campaign to legalise abortion on demand in Ireland, Mr Harris and others have failed to take heed of the stories of the women who deeply regret their abortions.

In countries where abortion is effectively available on demand, such as in Britain, the United States, Italy and Spain, abortion is not rare, it is very, very, common.

Look at our nearest neighbour, England. What makes Mr Harris think that if abortion on demand were legalised in Ireland that, over time, we would be any different? – Yours, etc,

THERESE SMITH,

Cree, Co Clare.

Sir, – The Taoiseach’s comment that he believes it’s a matter of time before we see a woman prosecuted for having an abortion has been met with accusations of scaremongering by the No side.

It would appear that they have been relying on the fact that this has never happened as a way to respond when asked if they agree that someone should be prosecuted for obtaining abortion pills online.

Legal experts who predicted the X case scenario in 1983 were dismissed as “crackpots” by supporters of the Eighth Amendment. Just like then, this isn’t “scaremongering”, it’s the law. If they don’t want to see arrests and prosecutions for breaking this law, why exactly are they fighting to retain the Eighth? Could it be that are actually pro-choice and just haven’t realised it yet? – Yours, etc,

MARIANNE McDONALD,

Grange, Cork.

Sir, Looking at the photographs accompanying your coverage of the recent poll on the referendum on page six of May 17th’s Irish Times, it is glaringly obvious that the photograph of the smiling lass with the Repeal T-shirt is in total contrast to the image of the elderly lady in a warm winter coat holding the No poster. The implication is that she represents the No voters. What about the tens of thousands of bright young people canvassing for and supporting the No vote? Readers, don’t be taken in. – Yours, etc,

MC HAYES,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – Archbishop Diarmuid Martin states that “Ireland has a great record in the care of mothers and children”. I am sure the women who were forcibly held in the Magdalene laundries would disagree with that statement. As would the children of Tuam, Bessborough and St Patrick’s, etc. As would the women and children currently sleeping on our streets. As would the women who cannot gain access to full medical care as a result of the Eighth Amendment. Further, to state that “a mentality was common in Ireland in which single mothers were ostracised and humiliated” is a trivialisation in the extreme.

We would do well to not forget the systematic physical and psychological abuse unmarried mothers endured in this country. It was not merely the judgement of others and it was not just “a mentality”– they were banished and locked away by society. Much like the way we send young girls and women across the water for terminations. We have an opportunity now to say this must end. To maintain the status quo would be nothing other than a continuation of the control that has been forced on women in this country. – Yours, etc,

SARAH OPPERMANN,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – It pains me deeply to hear people who wish to repeal the Eighth Amendment accuse those who wish to retain it of lacking compassion for women, especially for those who have been given the diagnosis that their little long-awaited baby may have a severe disability.

The motto of the pro-life campaign is “Love Both”. There are mothers as well as children in almost all the campaign pictures, because the woman in that pregnancy deserves our love and support and needs to be treated with dignity.

Many of those who campaign to keep the Eighth Amendment have been those “hard cases”. They are women who have faced a crisis pregnancy because of a heart-breaking diagnosis, or they are their mothers, fathers, sisters, or partners. They know first-hand the pain involved. Some of them chose to end that pregnancy, but afterwards deeply regretted it. Others chose to give their unborn child a chance at life. Some of those pregnancies ended naturally before the baby was born, others resulted in babies being born that lived for seconds, minutes, days, weeks, years. Sometimes the diagnosis was wrong.

Many of their stories are expressed by Every Life Counts or One Day More support groups. They speak of the grief of the loss of their children, but also the love, joy and healing for them and their families that came from being able to hold their babies, even if it was only for the briefest time. – Yours, etc,

MOIRA DUNCAN,

Castletownbere,

Co Cork.

Sir, – I am a victim of the Eighth Amendment, having had to “travel” with my wife for compassionate care and support following a devastating diagnosis in pregnancy. I only need that one reason to vote Yes next week but I have so many.

I think of all the women and families like mine forced abroad to deliver much-wanted babies, having to receive their ashes by courier, bring them home in hand luggage through airport security or, brought them home in the back seat of their car to meet their families.

I think of the women, past and present, who felt abandoned by family, friends and country, having to come home quietly, in secret, feeling judged.

I think of the young girls and women taking medication alone, scared and unsupervised – too scared to seek medical assistance.

I think of our sisters, friends and neighbours whose personal tragedies have not been considered sad enough for the media and who are made by others to feel “less than”, to feel unequal and unworthy.

But I have hope. I think of all the good, kind people who know the status quo is just wrong, who will find their one reason and who will vote Yes on May 25th. – Yours, etc,

GERRY EDWARDS,

Kilcoole,

Co Wicklow.