18 May 2007 Letters in the Irish Examiner
Who can judge a woman seeking an abortion?
It is difficult to believe we are still at a time when a young woman has to prostrate herself in front of the courts and the media in order to travel to another country to obtain an abortion. Abortion is not an easy decision for any woman to make. It is a decision agonised over, cried over, sometimes regretted and sometimes it brings relief. It is very often an action taken and lived with entirely alone. One’s own emotional responses to abortion, however, are irrelevant. If a woman chooses to undertake the journey across the water to seek an abortion, who am I or you to say it is wrong or right?
Neither you nor I can live her life; we will not have to live with the consequences of her actions; we have not had her life experience. What then gives us the right to tell her what she can and cannot do? When will we stop exporting 6,000 Irish women each year, palming off our problems on other jurisdictions while we continue to bury our heads in the sand? When will we stop treating Irish women as if they are incapable of making their own decisions?
When will Irish women be allowed to make choices for themselves? Canvassers are calling to our doors and leaflets and pamphlets are falling through our letterboxes on a daily basis, begging us to vote back into power parties that have failed Irish women consistently in this regard. Not only have they failed women, they have failed our society. They have failed partners, lovers and husbands. They have failed children. They have failed us all. When they call to our doors we should ask what are they going to do about Irish women’s right to choose abortion?’
Beth Wallace Bealad Rossmore Clonakilty Co Cork
Ruling was not a victory for the unborn child
IT’S ironic that your editorial (May 10) in relation to the ‘D’ case judgement was entitled ‘Ruling is a victory for humanity’. Ironic because it obviously wasn’t a victory for the humanity of the unborn child. The judge ruled that the right to travel took precedence over the right of the unborn in the constitution. This seems strange given that he was referring to the right to life of the unborn child. How can a right to travel take precedence over the right to life?
You also rebuke successive governments for failing to legislate for abortion, as do other commentators on this issue in the Irish Examiner. Yet opinion polls have consistently shown the majority of Irish people are pro-life. International trends show that other countries are increasingly rethinking this issue as the scientific evidence for the humanity of the unborn becomes undeniable. Young obstetricians in Britain, for example, are objecting to having to perform abortions.
In America the banning of partial-birth abortions confirms a reversal of attitudes on this issue. The damaging psychological effects of abortion are well-documented, yet none was mentioned in your commentaries. For example, a recent Finnish study by a social scientist, who also happens to be a supporter of abortion, found a suicide rate seven times higher for women who had abortions compared to those who gave birth. All of these factors should be taken into consideration in any truthful assessment of this issue.
Michael O’Driscoll John Paul II Society 154 Blackrock Road Cork