The Eighth Amendment


Sir, – Michael Leahy’s letter (September 22nd) includes an amazing paragraph that describes the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly as egregious and supposedly unprecedented in any other western country and which, if implemented, would represent a descent into barbarism.

As Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, chairwoman of the Citizens’ Assembly, has made clear to the Oireachtas committee examining the Eighth Amendment, the assembly’s recommendations were made on the basis of carefully considering the best scientific evidence and were the result of a process that was “fair, balanced and impartial”.

Mr Leahy would do well to look at the example of Canada, which for nearly 50 years has had an approach to abortion provision that is far more liberal than the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly. Does anyone seriously think that Canada represents an example of “barbarism”? In fact, internationally the correlation between democratic progressive societies and liberal abortion access is almost exactly the opposite of what Mr Leahy implies. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – It strikes me that those who reject the decisions of the Citizens’ Assembly are rather similar to those who think they know what’s best for women and so can speak on their behalf.

In my view, the decision was an expression of confidence in the ability of women to make the best possible choices about their bodies, their lives and their pregnancies in consultation with their families and doctors.

It’s a decision that acknowledges implicitly the difficulty with exceptions and categories, including hard cases. Let’s start trusting Irish women. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 12.