The abortion debate
Sir, – The paper entitled “General Scheme of the Protection of the Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013” has been issued. Enda Kenny recently indicated publicly that the law on abortion has not changed and this Bill, if passed into law, will not change it. He is, of course, correct. The law relating to abortion is contained in the Offences against the Persons Act 1861 and the same consequences will apply for somebody who without just cause procures an abortion.
He indicated that the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill if passed into law will reflect in law the findings of the Supreme Court Judgment in the “X” case. This is substantially correct, but not entirely so.
Consider if similar circumstances as pertained in the X case occurred in 2014, after the passing of this Bill: A young girl of 14 years of age is impregnated following a rape; she makes it clear and it is accepted by her parents that she is not suicidal; she does not wish to carry the pregnancy to full term and wants to know what options she has; neither parent permits her to travel on moral or legal grounds and they insist that she carry the baby to full term. What of her rights then under the Constitution to information and the right to travel? Who will vindicate those rights?
Even if those rights were to be vindicated, she and/or anyone who assisted her in travelling for a termination to another jurisdiction might well find themselves prosecuted.
It is my understanding that approximately three-quarters of the general population polled in Ireland were of the view that where a pregnancy followed incest and/or rape the woman should be entitled to a termination.
There has been a tremendous amount of discourse on the new Bill, but it fails miserably to address the very serious issues still with us following the X case. It won’t be long before such a situation will present itself, particularly having regard to the passing of this Act.
The Bill has some very good features and it helps to bring certainty to areas which were grey previously as regards termination. I will refrain from commenting on the provisions of the Bill relating to self-destruction. – Yours, etc,
Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Sir, – Aontas, an association of Christian Churches in Ireland, is alarmed at the prospect of abortion being legislated for on the basis of the X case judgment.
We agree fully that all life-saving treatments must be made available to a woman during pregnancy, but the X case provides for abortion in the case of the (threatened) risk of suicide and it is this that gives rise to our concern.
We believe firmly that legislation based on the X case judgment must not be enacted for the following reasons.
1. The X case judgment was flawed because no medical evidence was considered during the case. 2. The psychiatric evidence brought before the recent Oireachtas hearings firmly and clearly showed that abortion is never a treatment for suicidal ideation. 3. The recent vote at the Irish Medical Organisation annual Conference rejected the call for the liberalisation of abortion in Ireland. 4. In spite of recent tragic events in Galway, Ireland is one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women. This is the case because present Irish medical practice seeks to treat both patients, the woman and her unborn baby. 5. Any legislation that allows for abortion because of threatened suicide will be abused. We only have to look at our nearest neighbour, England, to see this fact clearly demonstrated. 6. The recent revelations from the taped conversations with two Labour TDs, printed in the Sunday Independent, shows that those on the so-called pro-choice side of the debate see this proposed legislation as only step one in their ultimate campaign for abortion on demand.
The Fine Gael proposal of inserting a”‘sunset clause” into any legislation fails to face the reality that if such legislation were passed, there would be no going back and any review of the legislation would do nothing to alter that reality.
We believe that life is precious and no society should fail to uphold this principle. – Yours, etc,
Calvary Church, Westport;
BEN SANTING, Corner
Church, Tuam; MICHAEL
WALSH, Grace Community
DAVID ROSS, Bantry
Galway; JOHN VOGAN,
Free Grace Evangelical
BILLY Ó MAHONEY, Cove
Street Fellowship, Cork;
Tramore Bible Fellowship;
STEPHEN CHILD, Calvary
Clonmel Baptist Church;
BRYCE CARLAW, Douglas
Baptist Church, Cork;
Calvary Church, Ballina;
MERVYN SCOTT, Youghal
Baptist Church; CLIFF
KIRKER & DOUGIE
Church; EDDIE COULTER,
Emanuel Church, Dublin &
C/o Rowan Drive,
Castlebar, Co Mayo.