The Eighth Amendment

Sir, – It can sometimes feel that grandparents and older people generally are not central to the debate about the Eighth Amendment. However, the issues raised by the amendment can of course affect us and our families directly and deeply.

In an ideal world there would be no such thing as a crisis pregnancy or a pregnancy in crisis. But real life is not so straightforward. The circumstances surrounding pregnancy may be far from ideal and choices have to be made. I believe that a woman’s choice about whether or not her pregnancy is sustainable is a profoundly personal one, and ultimately hers alone. No-one has the right to impose their own views on that decision. The Constitution is no place for medical decisions. The Constitution is no place for personal crises.

We want our daughters and granddaughters to be able to face a crisis situation safely, here in Ireland, with all the support we grandparents are so well placed to give them. – Yours, etc,



Grandparents for Repeal,

Delgany, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Further to the news item “Minister suggests 10 week limit at FG meeting” (News, January 27th), up until now, there has been no reason for a GP to determine accurately whether a pregnancy was at 10 weeks or 12 weeks gestation. The reality is the stage of an early pregnancy will be determined as it has always been in general practice everywhere in the world – by asking the mother the date of her last menstrual period. Politicians and the public need to consider how imprecise this process is, in reality, when they seek to introduce a supposedly precise cut-off point in law. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.

Sir, – The date of the forthcoming referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment could turn out to be a crucial factor (“Clear majority backs abortion on request up to 12 weeks, poll shows”, January 26th).

The latest Irish Times/MRBI opinion poll shows that support for repeal among 18- to 24-year-olds is at 74 per cent. If repeal is to pass it is very important that the vote happens in late spring before thousands of third-level students head off for their summer adventures abroad.

With support among those over 65 at a lowly 36 per cent, turnout could well be the defining factor in determining the final result. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 7.

Sir, – Despite the admitted medical complexities that arise in pregnancy, and the extended discussion from foetal disability to Down syndrome to abortifacients available via the internet, to our politicians’ compassion, I believe there is a widespread missing of the wood for the trees.

The ascendancy of pragmatic humanism and the rise of its secular values have permeated Irish society to the point where we are left with one central, stark issue – the value we place on life itself. – Yours, etc,


Newport, Co Mayo.