The abortion debate
Sir, - Ivana Bacik (December 13th) misrepresents pro-life campaigners when she says that they now support an "identical referendum" to the one they opposed in 1992. If that were offered again (a choice between two levels of induced abortion) they would again oppose it. The stance of the Pro-Life Campaign on deliberate intentional abortion is essentially in line with that of the medical institutions and senior obstetricians who gave evidence to the Oireachtas Committee.
Opinion polls over the years indicate a majority desire to settle the abortion issue by referendum; the vast majority of Green Paper and Oireachtas Committee submissions distinguished between necessary medical treatments and the direct targeting of the life of the unborn. It would be undemocratic to ignore the overwhelming popular demand on this issue.
Ms Bacik's idea of democracy can be gauged from her evidence to the Oireachtas Committee. She advocated a preferendum on a range of choices, (Fifth Progress Report pages A234 - A243). The Chairman, Deputy Brian Lenihan, pointed out that in a preferendum her position could be the first one eliminated and in the end, he suggested that Option One, prohibiting induced abortion, could win. What was Ms Bacik's democratic response to that? It was up to the Legislature, she said, to ensure that Option One was not put into the preferendum! - Yours, etc.,
Cora Sherlock, Pro-Life Campaign, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1.