Abortion and the law – an open letter
irishtimes.com, Sat, Aug 23, 2014
Sir, – Any women who has the right to travel and sufficient funds will be able to go to England to have an abortion, if she decides to do so. Any women whose right to travel is restricted or who does not have access to that money will, however, be subject to the new legislation, having to face a panel that decides on her fate. The issue of being suicidal is not really of any consequence here.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution and the new legislation only ever affect an already disadvantaged and marginalised minority. Everybody else deals with a termination the way they decide for themselves and does not have to worry about these things too much, as there is always the option of a trip to England.
At the inevitable next abortion referendum, most Irish voters will therefore again be in a position to contemplate the sanctity of life and the right of the unborn in the safe knowledge that the issue is really only an academic one for them.
And they might even feel pleased with themselves for having taken a “moral stand”. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – When will the conversation turn from women’s reproductive rights (which are many, let’s be frank, from myriad forms of contraception to the morning-after pill to the freedom, albeit fiscally defined at present, to decide to abort a pregnancy) to men’s reproductive rights, which are basically nil? When are we going to discuss a father’s rights? – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I would like to thank Ruth Cullen for her considered and intelligent column on abortion (“Advocates of abortion ignoring a little truth”, Opinion, August 21st). It is by far the most level-headed and caring piece I have read on the subject.
I need to add that I am not a practising member of any religion and my thoughts on the subject centre on the care we should give young women and their babies in a crisis pregnancy. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – In her trenchant defence of the pro-life campaign’s position on Article 40.3.3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, Dr Ruth Cullen writes: “Thanks in significant part to our constitutional protection of the unborn child the Irish abortion rate is far lower than Britain’s”. If the Eighth Amendment were to be repealed, it’s fair to assume there would be a marked decrease in Britain’s abortion rate. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – We are people in or from Ireland. We are under the age of 50. We could not vote in the 1983 abortion referendum which profoundly limited women’s autonomy. No subsequent referendum has provided an opportunity to undo that damage. Many of us have lived our whole lives under an abortion regime in which we have had no say. As a generation we have grown up knowing that the State would compel us to travel if we wished to exercise substantive control over our reproductive lives. We never allowed ourselves to think, at least since Miss X, that we lived under a regime willing in principle to marshal its power against a distressed young woman to compel her to carry her pregnancy to viability.
We have never been given the democratic opportunity to expand the circumstances in which an abortion can be sought in Ireland. We have repeatedly asked for this chance, but the State failed to listen. The law punishes women in our name, but never bore our mark. We are disappointed and concerned by the latest news, but we know that disappointment and concern are not enough. It is time that this generation had its referendum. That referendum must transform the law on access to abortion care.
Read the full letter: www.irishtimes.com/letters