The Eighth Amendment

 

A chara, – I read with interest Eithne Deane’s moving account of her son Austin’s birth and short life (“Repeal of Eighth would desensitise Ireland’s culture of care”, Opinion & Analysis, March 20th).

However, I disagree with her assertion that removing the Eighth Amendment would have a “profound and adverse effect on the shape of our society”. Repealing the Eighth Amendment will not change the shape of our society but rather will reflect the change that has taken place in our society to one where women are trusted to make decisions about their reproductive lives.

I too am speaking from personal experience. I chose to terminate my pregnancy in January of this year after my baby was diagnosed with a fatal condition. It was not a decision I took lightly but it is one I am grateful I was in a position to make, as the financial and practical implications of needing to travel abroad did not factor into my decision making. Having spent three awful weeks agonising over what course of action to take, I’ve come to realise there was no single right or wrong decision. My choice was the right one, simply because it was mine. If I had decided to carry my baby full term, that would have been the right choice. My individual decision was made in the context of my own personal values, life experience and current situation in life. My baby was equally loved and wanted, and I also considered what I thought was best for him. If I had not been afforded that choice I would currently be 33 weeks pregnant, carrying a baby that was slowly dying inside me and anticipating a full-term labour. That is the reality as I perceive it and I cannot even begin to imagine the trauma of being forced to carry on like that. – Is mise,

CAROLINE McCARTHY,

Castleknock,

Dublin 15.

Sir, – When is the Taoiseach, Minister for Health, or any senior Government or Opposition figure going to publicly acknowledge the thousands of women who, over the years, kept their babies in circumstances where abortion might have seemed like the preferable option? These strong women struggled, often alone, against the very economic, societal, and familial pressures that forced many other women into believing that they had no choices other than abortion.

Today there are women and men, and girls and boys going about their everyday lives because of those decisions. These people will inevitably include our friends and neighbours, work colleagues and acquaintances, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.

In fact, there will be those among us who are alive today because of tough decisions our mothers made that we, and possibly nobody else, will ever be aware of.

That these women’s life-affirming tenacity is rarely if ever spoken about, let alone lauded, in political or media forums shows just how quickly one kind of blindness and prejudice can be replaced by another. – Yours, etc,

IAN O’SHEA,

MARIA O’SHEA,

Listowel,

Co Kerry.

Sir, – The decision to seek an abortion is one that anyone considers very seriously, and the 10 women a day who are forced to leave Ireland for the care and compassion of foreign countries deserve that care and compassion at home.

As someone currently living outside Ireland, I support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment so that Ireland might become a more compassionate country, and leave such personal decisions between a woman, her partner, and her doctor.

Abortion should be a healthcare decision. – Yours, etc,

BETHANY GARRY,

London.

Sir, – I am proud to live in a country where the most important right for unborn babies – the right to life – is protected by the Constitution. – Yours, etc,

MAJA DRAPIEWSKA,

Galway