The Eighth Amendment


Sir, – Dr Colum Farrelly (March 17th) takes Prof William Binchy to task for “sneering” at politicians when he asks the question “Do we want politicians to be able to legislate for abortion on demand with few restrictions?” (Opinion & Analysis, March 14th). Far from sneering at politicians, Prof Binchy’s article provides an informed and reflective, if rather chilling, analysis of the limited options that will be available to politicians and, indeed, to the judiciary, if the Eighth Amendment is repealed. He demonstrates with very convincing legal analysis that “our politicians’ hands would actually be tied to some degree in a way that severely damages the lives of unborn babies”. This is not “sneering”; it is just a realistic statement, made by one of the country’s most eminent legal minds, of the situation that would prevail under the model of repeal that is proposed to be adopted.

In the referendum the people are being asked to trust present and future politicians, with their hands tied in the manner described by Prof Binchy, with legislating for abortion. I would respectfully point out that we trusted them with legislating for the regulation of the banks and the banks crashed. We trusted them with the running of the health services and the waiting lists grew. We trusted them with the provision of housing for the people and homelessness spiralled. Do they really expect us to trust them with the lives of the most vulnerable human beings in the country? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.