The Eighth Amendment
Sir, – During discussions and debates surrounding the Eighth Amendment, I have noticed a lack of acknowledgment for how the amendment affects women who decide to continue with their pregnancies. There has been an overarching emphasis on abortion and granted this is an important topic to cover, particularly as there are over 10 women per day travelling abroad for basic healthcare, not to mention the women who remain in Ireland and are having to access medication online without support.
The Eighth Amendment affects every pregnant person in Ireland, including those who decide to continue with their pregnancy and directly affects the National Consent Policy used within the Irish health services. If someone doesn’t agree with abortion then they are within their right to choose not to have one, but I’d like to remind people when they are deciding which way to vote in the upcoming referendum, to consider all people in Ireland that the Eighth Amendment affects. As a 26-year-old woman, who hopes to one day have children, I ask people to vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment and give me the choice to make my own decision about when to become pregnant, the type of screening and intervention I’ll receive and the place I decide to give birth. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Thomas Ryan (March 16th) is wrong in his claim that legislating for unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy would amount to Ireland having the most liberal abortion law in Europe. Such legislation would, in fact, bring Ireland into line with 23 other European countries that have legislated for abortion without restrictions, at a minimum, up to 12 weeks. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Upon reading recent contributions on the Eighth Amendment to your letters page, I am struck that a number of your corespondents have made much of the proposed 12-week measure. They point out that this will be, effectively, a very liberal regime, and do so in very negative terms. They use words like “fear” and suggest our Oireachtas should not be trusted with legislation in this area.
They suggest the measure will not receive the support of the Irish people.
That may be; however, we must remember that this proposal is the product of very detailed work by the Citizens’ Assembly and a Dáil committee. It may well be the most broadly considered and consulted change to our laws ever. This hard and detailed consultative process should not be rashly discounted. Rather, it should be trusted.
This referendum is as much about ending that control as it s about ensuring we have a fit-for-purpose legal framework around reproductive health in this country. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty is reported as saying her previous position against abortion was “born out of ignorance” (“Repeal campaigners will not accept a No vote, says Minister”, March 17th). She says, ‘I don’t agree with abortion . . . And that’s because of my faith, upbringing. I am a Catholic”.
People of all religions and none oppose abortion and are vehemently opposed to the Government’s stated abortion proposals in the event of repeal of Article 40.3.3. Scientists of all religions and none say that they know that human life begins at conception. Most Irish people feel compassion for human life, especially in its most vulnerable form. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It is unsettling to see William Binchy, a professor of law no less, spokespersons for certain pressure and advocacy groups, and some letter-writers, vigorously expressing such a profound lack of trust in and respect for the democratically elected politicians in this country.
Such commentators seem to perceive a need for the Constitution to act as a bulwark to protect the citizens against its democratic representatives.
Our elected politicians reflect our values, they depend on our continuing electoral support, and our TDs are messengers for their constituents to the Dáil.
Why is representative democracy now perceived by some of our citizens, some quite prominent and highly respected, as so untrustworthy? – Yours, etc,