The Eighth Amendment


Sir, – Your headline “Party votes to safeguard the constitutional right of the unborn” (October 16th) comes as a breath of fresh air.

That the Fianna Fáil ardfheis “voted overwhelmingly” in favour of this fundamental right, without which no other rights exist, is good news for Ireland and, I would suggest, for the party. – Yours, etc,


Raheny, Dublin 5.

Sir, – The one noticeable position held in common by those opposed to the Eighth Amendment at the Oireachtas committee hearings is their non-recognition of the inherent right to life of the unborn. Views may seemingly vary as regards how liberalised the law might or should become following repeal, but this is a secondary matter.

At present the Constitution recognises that the unborn of themselves have a right to life. This right is equally enjoyed by all in the womb irrespective of their state of health and life expectancy, similar to the right to life following birth.

The strong, the weak, the very weak, and the weaker still, equally enjoy the right to continue existing.

If this right ceases to be recognised, any rights attaching to the unborn will undoubtedly become very arbitrary.

It has already become acceptable to campaign for the denial of equal rights in regards to those whose life prospects and potential lifespan fall short of the norm. Such campaigning thoroughly rejects the ideals of equality and tolerance.

Maybe it is because our culture and society has now compromised its values and expectations, so the right to life has become secondary to individual freedom?

Reading the comments of one repeal advocate at the hearings, the timing and present inconvenience of having a baby is sufficient reason for many women to end a life, irrespective of any health issues, although this will probably become labelled as “healthcare”.

If abortion, even in limited circumstances, is accepted, life as a right of the unborn will be implicitly denied, and the pattern will be predictable: if abortion is allowable in situation A, why not in situation B? If B, why not C? And on it will go.

In contrast, the Eighth Amendment places the rights of all unborn lives on an equal and solid foundation. If it goes, we may as well draw a line in the sand as the tide comes in. – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.