Sunday 28 December 2014

True choice

Published 17/01/2013 | 17:00

• Abortion in 'special cases' was Britain's original compassionate remit for introducing abortion in 1967.

Recent UK data claims that 85pc of women change their minds about abortion when they see life on a scan. So the culture of abortion is changing – but the law is being broken.

A 'Daily Telegraph' video investigation sadly found that sex-selective abortion is widespread among certain South Asian communities in the UK. Baby girls are aborted simply because the parents prefer to have a baby boy.

In the UK, there have been 7.5 million 'special-case' abortions since then. Politician David Steel now regrets the industrial-scale abortion that this law facilitated where it was broadly interpreted.

This fear of floodgates opening in Ireland is, therefore, real, when the current law could be amended without legalising abortion, as it appears to a layperson.

This fear is not unfounded, nor is it an insult to any Irish politician; unlike the insult that was directed at Bishop Christopher Jones by Senator Ivana Bacik (misogynist).

The bishop had the very best interests of both a raped mother and an innocent child at the heart of his delivery. It must be pointed out that the woman in Ireland's C case deeply regretted her decision to abort the baby after rape. Abortion is not a pain-free solution after rape, as it is death for an innocent child who has no say in its destiny.

Real choice for women with unwanted pregnancies should include information on charities such as Cura and factual developmental data about their baby, which would make the decision-making process a truly informed 'choice'.

As the Government is devising a law change on a 'life issue' in a census-proven Catholic country, it is ignoring a request from the leading church to provide a referendum that would allow the people of Ireland to decide the outcome.

The Human Rights Act and other glowing UN charters on children's rights strangely do not include the unborn child as having any rights of their own.

Ita O'Donnell
Bristol, RGN/Health Sister

• I find it interesting that the Roman Catholic Church is determined that foetuses be granted equal rights to the mother.

Is this the same institution that was, only a few decades ago, sending stillborn babies and babies that died before baptism to 'limbo', and having them buried in unconsecrated ground?

Kristina Greenslade
Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

• The debate in relation to the request for an abortion where a woman says she is suicidal must also include the fact that assessment of suicidal risk is more typically carried out where a patient is known to a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

Risk factors include issues such as whether a person has a history of self-harm or trying to kill themselves previously, whether they have made a plan, whether they have any hope for the future, what type of social supports the person has around them and so on.

Legislating for abortion in cases where an individual claims to be at risk of suicide can only lead to a very liberal abortion regime. Abortion is not an evidence-based treatment for suicidal intent and in fact is a risk factor for mental health issues in the future.

Dr Ruth Cullen
Clinical psychologist

Irish Independent

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