Thinking, not shouting about abortion

 

Sir, – I would like to applaud Nell McCafferty for her very thoughtful article about abortion (Life & Style, March 24th). She is absolutely right we need to stop shouting about it and have a thoughtful conversation.

Most women over the age of 40 know somebody who has had a crisis pregnancy. They don’t need to be lectured, they need compassion and support.

If they make the incredibly difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy, who are we to judge them and banish them to England? – Yours , etc,

EDNA McMINN,

Belfast.

Sir, – “The decision to seek an abortion is one that anyone considers very seriously”, according to Bethany Garry (March 26th) and many others.

This might well be the case. It might well be that the abortions which end one out of every five pregnancies in the UK are the result of serious reflection. However, the result is the same – innocent human life is destroyed.

When we vote on the Eighth Amendment, we will be choosing life or death for innumerable innocent human beings. – Yours, etc,

MAOLSHEACHLANN Ó CEALLAIGH,

Ballymun Dublin 11.

Sir, – The integrity of the Common Travel Area (CTA) will be crucial for Irish women accessing abortion services in the United Kingdom. The CTA is in doubt with Brexit and it is becoming all too unclear what rights Irish people will have in the UK. The CTA has been up for discussion at the highest EU level since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Those discussions raised more questions than answers. Our neighbouring country will become a fully independent country on March 29th next year. The current access which women have to access abortion services on the NHS could be in doubt.

It is therefore essential that women have access to abortion services in Ireland, otherwise they will have to go further afield for a pregnancy that they do not want. The CTA has ensured a level playing pitch for Irish and British people who can access reciprocal services in either state.

However, Brexit will certainly change a great deal, despite the double talk and rhetoric from the British government pledging to keep the status quo. The status quo is going to change and the free movement of people from other EU states is something the British want to curtail and stop altogether.

The soothsaying talk coming from the British will change next year and the tone will be completely different. It may also be different for women who do not want to be subject to an Irish state under Catholic rule who may not be able to access abortion services in Britain. The referendum to repeal or amend the Eighth Amendment is an important one for women. – Yours, etc,

MAURICE FITZGERALD,

Shanbally,

Co Cork.

Sir, I read the article titled “Abortion: the facts” by Sarah Bardon (March 22nd). One of the many facts that was omitted is the fact that abortion is the killing of innocent defenceless children. – Yours, etc,

KIERAN JORDAN,

Fermoy, Co Cork.

Sir, – The so-called pro-life side threaten on their billboards that repeal could lead to 90 per cent of Down syndrome people being aborted.

Not only exploitative, this is factually incorrect. The HSE states that antenatal screenings to identify Down syndrome occur only after the third trimester, between weeks 13 and 20.

In fact, according to Down Syndrome Ireland the majority of cases are identified only after birth.

The proposed legislation will allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks. Thereafter, only for fatal foetal abnormality or risk to the health of the pregnant person.

Down syndrome is not a fatal abnormality. This means that by the time a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome has been made, the window to procure an abortion is closed. The only way repeal will affect people with Down syndrome is that if they choose to have an abortion they will no longer be forced abroad in shame. — Is mise,

DERVLA MCNEICE,

Monkstown, Cork.

Sir, – A letter by Lizzy MacKenzie (Letters, March 23rd) seeks to conflate the death of a Co Louth woman Sheila Hodgers, after giving birth in March 1983, with the Eighth Amendment.

Those wishing to repeal the right-to-life article from our Constitution must be scraping the bottom of the barrel, by going back to a situation which occurred six months prior to people actually voting for the Eighth Amendment.

In fact it was precisely because some were concerned that in the 1950s babies were given priority over their mothers, that the phrase: “with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother” was inserted in the then purposed wording. This allayed any lingering fears. Such people saw the Eighth Amendment as a welcome guarantee that mothers would not be put at risk. And indeed our maternal health outcomes since then show that our care for mothers is second to none. – Yours, etc,

GEARÓID DUFFY,

Cork.

Sir, – Jessica Prendergast(Letters, March 24th) writes that she would never deprive her fellow citizens of a right to vote. The context of this is the recent vote of 32 TDs against staging the referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. I wonder has it struck Ms Prendergast that the reason the TDs voted that way was not so much that doing so would deprive citizens of the right to vote, but that the staging and passing of a referendum like that would deprive citizens of the right to life. – Yours, etc,

MARK C HICKEY,

Irishtown Dublin 4.