The abortion debate

 

Sir, – John Glennon (January 12th) expresses a wish to hear “some serious discussion of the terrifying consequences for humanity .... as a direct result of freely available legalised abortion.” I, for one, would like Mr Glennon to begin such a discussion by explaining exactly what he is referring to, because I cannot for the life of me fathom what dire consequences we are supposed to be observing in countries where abortion is available. A glance at other European countries, such as Spain, does not enlighten me when I compare them to Ireland.

In my naivety, or perhaps a misreading of recent scientific and economic literature, I understood that, rather than “people pursuing their own individual choices in matters of life and death,” it was corruption, greed, religious ideology and intolerance, man-made climate change, and other environmental and ecological degradation exacerbated by massive overpopulation (though I do not favour abortion as a means of population control) that was currently and demonstrably “creating a disastrous situation for human society and the future of civilisation as a whole”.

While I do not have space here to explain these factors in great detail for Mr Glennon, as a small start I suggest he read Collapse, by Jared Diamond. I look forward to some reasonable debate. – Yours, etc,

Dr DAVID O’BRIEN,

BSc, MEd, PhD,

Calle Dormitaleria,

Pamplona Navarra, Spain.

Sir, – During the three full days of hearings of the Oireachtas health committee, amidst claim and counter-claim, there were just three points on which each of the witnesses at the committee were agreed.

These were, first, that no maternal deaths have occurred as a result of any deficiencies in the existing law; second, that no doctors have ever been prosecuted under the 1861 Act which outlaws the procurement of an abortion; and third that there is no body of international medical or psychiatric evidence which suggests that abortion is a cause, treatment or cure for suicidal ideation.

Not a single witness before the committee disagreed with these three conclusions, be they pro-choice, pro-life, or otherwise.

This raises a number of very serious questions which our legislators must address.

If the current law poses no danger to the lives of women, why the rush to amend it? If no doctors have been prosecuted under the existing law, then why do we need to amend this law to protect doctors from prosecution? And if there is no evidence linking pregnancy to the risk of suicide, why should we enshrine such a link in Irish law? – Yours, etc,

BARRY WALSH,

Brooklawn,

Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Sir, – In the recent hearings before the Oireachtas committee on health, little word or thought was given to the 4,500 Irish children killed in England each year through abortion. It was stated at the meetings that about 130,000 Irish babies have been killed in this way since the British 1967 Act. If our country was at war and casualties to this extent were being suffered by the Irish Army, there would be consternation and an outpouring of anger at the loss of so many lives.

I suspect that the absence of concern, or protest, to the British authorities being expressed by any successive Irish government at such an enormous loss of Irish life is due to the inherent philosophical view of all those in favour of elective abortions: the child in the womb is not yet “human” and is not truly “in being”. – Yours, etc,

DONAL NUNAN,

Cork Road, Mallow, Co Cork.

Sir, – Paddy Agnew’s reference to tilting at windmills is apt, as it appears that the Vatican still operates as if it were 1604, when Cervantes coined that phrase (Opinion, January 11th).

But times have changed, whether the Vatican likes it or not. The Vatican has been losing battle after battle in Ireland. Despite its vehement opposition, reforms on family planning, condoms, divorce and gay rights have all come to pass. Abortion is the last bastion, and it seems increasingly likely that it will lose in that arena as well.

As we have seen elsewhere in strongly Catholic countries, including Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay, politicians are no longer bending the knee to the bishops. Instead, they are legislating in the best interests of the people they represent.

That’s as it should be, and I sincerely hope that progress will continue in the future. – Yours, etc,

JON O’BRIEN,

President,

Catholics for Choice

U Street NW,

Washington, DC,

US.