The abortion debate


Sir, – I am gravely concerned about the upcoming abortion Bill. My concern is for the possible exploitation of young vulnerable women and especially the voiceless foetuses.

However I would like to focus on the baby or foetus for one moment. If we are all in agreement that abortion is not an ideal situation but a difficult choice then we should do the utmost to mitigate the pain and suffering of both parties.

Scientists tell us; the foetus can feel physical pain from eight weeks, therefore would it not be more ethical to abort the baby/foetus using a more “humane” treatment? Or at least abort the baby using anaesthesia? The method is absolutley barbaric and no animal would be allowed to suffer the same with our activists demanding change. I believe both sides of the abortion debate have become so loud that we have forgotten about those you have no voice. Even animals are given more respect at death. Yes, they are human, and yes, they should be thus treated humanely. – Yours, etc,


Ardmore Crescent,

Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Is not this piece of legislative initiative in respect of the protection of women in childbirth rather a brilliant coup de main by the executive?

It was due, to be sure, but the timing is apt and will swing this Government into 2014, before one can say “household tax” or “water charge”. While the country is in the pawn shop to the tune of billions and thousands are burdened with aggressive loans, people are suddenly taking to the streets from notions of moral impropriety and suicidal presumptive implications of life in the womb.

The Government is threatening, no less, to expand the sovereign rights of women in difficult pregnancies. For swear, what has come to pass that this should be so! Is it not just amazing that real imminent threats to our own sustainability as a people are ignored and the imagined and improbable threats imported from some remote christian ideology are infused with an imperative and magnitude of indignation that belies the inherent insecurity of their concealment.

Why is it more easy and less shameful to rail against a minor legal adjustment to iron out ambiguity in law and secure protection to practitioners and patients alike than it is to rage against the rape of a nation by faceless bankers and rampant speculators.

How is it that our economic degeneracy sees not a single act of demonstrative action on our streets against the unendurable pain it has inflicted, by de-franchising our youth and throwing them to a life of exile or of those remaining to a life of humble acceptance, docility and intellectual atrophy. This should be enough to provoke anyone to tear the house down, but no one flutters an eyebrow.

Yet, the mere notion of an expansion of rights for women, however minor, brings about convulsions and tempers are raised to a pitch of desperation. Suddenly the very basis of our society is under threat. Just how does one square that? – Yours, etc,


Ushers Island,

Dublin 8.

Sir, – Both Government and Sinn Féin members of the Oireachtas would do well to pay attention to your poll finding (Home News, June 13th),namely that 48 per cent of those polled on the proposed abortion legislation disagreed or were undecided regarding the substantive “suicide” clause.

Are we to believe the above-mentioned Oireachtas members are fundamentally different in their opinions to their Fianna Fáil colleagues (half of whom if not more are expected to vote against the legislation under their party’s belated “free vote” policy)? Is your paper in any way concerned at this democratic deficit in the pursuance of Government’s policy?

Far from the company of the “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell, as suggested by Stephen Collins (Opinion, June 15th), Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s strategy of cowing party opposition to the legislation rings of a bleak modus operandi more suited to the Catholic hierarchy he famously and justly condemned two short years ago.

The Taoiseach cannot be left unchallenged, save by a few brave voices in his own and other parties. He should practise what he preaches and allow a free vote on this flawed legislation, which if enacted will I believe lessen the spirit of our society. – Yours, etc,


Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.

Sir, – When Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran (chairman of the review team regarding the death of Savita Halappanavar, Home News, June 14th) was asked whether “. . .the law should permit termination of pregnancy where there was a threat to the health and not just to the life of the mother”, his answer was a very simple and clear “Yes”. Crucially, he said later in the article, that “there were situations where a mother’s health only was threatened but which could escalate rapidly into a situation where her health would be permanently damaged”.

In the same edition, Joe Humphreys outlined the main points of the abortion Bill. Having read his summary carefully I could find no reference to the distinction pointed out by Prof Arulkumaran about making legal provision for the health of the mother. I have looked at other sources, but the current abortion Bill does not seem to address this issue.

It seems to me that by side-stepping this issue now and not including a provision to secure the health of a pregnant woman, the current legislators are leaving the country wide open to further problems down the line. We could easily find ourselves back in the European courts and facing another divisive debate and another referendum.

Clearly common sense should tell us to make sure this does not happen. If we do find ourselves “here” again, it will be on the back of a great deal of suffering and misery endured by yet more women in Ireland. Personally, I think we have had enough and I would urge all those in a position to make a difference to please stand up now and say the abortion Bill needs more work. It will not be ready until women’s health is protected as well. – Yours, etc,


Palmerston Park,

Rathmines, Dublin 6.