Wednesday 28 September 2016

Abortion debate

Published 06/05/2013 | 11:53

Are we ever going to build a country where we treat all people with equal dignity?

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In rightly trying to make Ireland a safer place for pregnant women, must we make it a more dangerous place for unborn children?

Having finally shown respect for the Magdalene Laundry victims, many of whom suffered the heartache of having their newborn babies taken from them, are we now about to say to suicidal women and girls, many experiencing those same feelings of anguish and despair, that all we can offer you as a solution to your pain is to take your child away, too – this time by the more drastic method of ending its life?

Stop and think.

I take it that the suicidal women who the Government is trying to let have abortions are suicidal because their pregnancies are forced upon them. If they are pregnant through their own choice, and later suicidal, then it really is the beginning of abortion on demand.

So let's look just at ways to make Ireland a safer place for them.

An anonymous writer to this page last Tuesday wrote: "There is a dual responsibility and the woman should not be left on her own to deal with the consequences. Has the State not a role to play here?"

I believe we need to be willing to put more effort – and, dare I add, money – into finding a solution that takes the bigger picture into account.

Females in Ireland who are victims of sexual violence need to be shown that this State and its people really do care about them, and this should be demonstrated by an immediate debate into what legal and other changes can make a long-term difference to their lives.

To start with, I think the punishments meted out to perpetrators of such crimes need to be consistent, and of such magnitude that they will act as a strong deterrent to the (re)occurrence of sexual crime.

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• This is part of a speech delivered by the Primate of Ireland Cardinal Brady on Saturday: "In this Mass, we pray for courage – the kind of courage that is needed to look the truth in the eye and to call it as it is, without yielding to self-deception or bowing to convenient compromise, scrupulously avoiding ambiguous language, which cloaks the true horror of the situation and reduces its seriousness in public."

May I respectfully suggest His Eminence revisit the Irish hierarchies' dealings with the horrific rape and buggery of children by clergy, peruse carefully his own words and actions in response and see the blatant hypocrisy in what he uttered at the Basilica in Knock.

While the threat of excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church is indeed within his remit, one wonders why criminals were moved from parish to parish, permitting them not only to receive the Eucharist, but to partake in what could be described as the desecration of the rite of transubstantiation whenever they said a Mass.

I won't mention Jesus' suggestion of tying a millstone around the neck of the recalcitrants.

Does Cardinal Brady accept that the holy trinity are indeed three very wise, omnipotent people, who are aware of everything occurring upon this earth?

It would seem that the lesson of the interference by Archbishop McQuaid in legislation pertaining to the rights of Irish females has been forgotten.

If the (Irish) Catholic Church brings down a government yet again on the rights of women, the church and the people may well rue the day, because unlike 1951, the people of Ireland do not live in fear of a belt of a crozier, thus an ensuing general election would be fought on the tenet of: "Who is running this nation: clergy or politicians?"

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

• I was delighted to hear the news that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has finally drafted a bill to legislate for abortion in Ireland for women whose lives are at risk, including from suicide.

It's not a full solution by any means – we won't have that until victims of rape and incest are granted the right to an abortion, too – but it's still a step forward.

Finally, we have a leader who isn't afraid to resist pressure from the church, and who has the guts to stand up to opposition, even from his own party. Well done, Mr Kenny, well done indeed.

No matter how the clergy or the conservative sections of society may try to demonise you, you have taken a step that will safeguard the health and well-being of countless Irish women in the future. Sir, I salute you.

Sean Slattery

Newport, Co Tipperary

• As a medical doctor, I would like to agree with Dr John Monaghan's letter (Irish Independent, May 1) regarding Savita Halappanavar's death.

It is evident that Dr Peter Boylan is not representing all the obstetricians of Ireland and that Savita's death was due to a failure of the hospital system and delayed treatment of fulminant septicaemia rather than the fact she didn't have an abortion.

A woman with a virulent septicaemia, not being immediately treated by the appropriate antibiotics, is likely to be made much worse and most certainly die if she undergoes another invasive surgical procedure such as an abortion.

Dr Cliodhna Donnelly MB. BCH. DCH. MD.

Salthill, Galway

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