The Eighth Amendment


Sir, – The recent article by Prof Chris Fitzpatrick (Opinion, September 16th) and the supportive letter in the edition of September 20th ignore the major differences between the two sides of the abortion debate on issues regarded by each group as fundamental. The headline “In the media everyone is pro-choice or pro-life. I am both” defies logic.

The pro-life position holds that the unborn have of themselves a natural right to life, and that such life should never be ended intentionally.

In contrast, the pro-choice position supports the view that all women have a basic right to end their pregnancies should they so wish, denying all rights to the child.

Precedence can either be given to the equal right to life of the child and mother, or to the woman’s choice, but not to both. Prof Fitzpatrick’s support is obviously for the woman’s right to end the pregnancy, so the claim to be pro-life is meaningless.

At the start of his article he tells of how he can invariably predict what various speakers will say based on previous pronouncements and affiliations. It came as no great surprise to me to read at the end of his article that he will be voting to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and that he hopes for a liberalisation of the country’s abortion laws. Pro-life? – Yours, etc,



Co Clare.

Sir, – Michael Leahy (September 21st) states that repealing the Eighth Amendment will lead to “widespread availability of late-term abortions for no reason”.

First, the idea that a woman has an abortion for “no reason” is absolutely ridiculous and an insult to the intelligence of women.

Second, Mr Leahy has not even addressed the question of bodily autonomy for women, which surely is the most important factor in this discussion. – Yours, etc,



Co Sligo.