Law should be there to protect women today
I am a qualified nurse and midwife, having worked most of my life in England and recently returned to work in an Irish hospital.
Many an Irish woman/girl I have met in my working life in England had to go to the UK for an abortion; all of them troubled, stressed and saddened that they had to travel for this procedure and would have to keep quiet about it on their return.
Their UK counterparts would be getting support and counselling after such a procedure for as long as needed. But there was no support for these Irish ladies on their return to Catholic Ireland. Cruel, barbaric or what?
I cannot believe that this debate is still going on in Ireland, so many men talking on every TV and radio station, yet so few women – why is that?
Back in the 1940s, when the UK was bringing in a free health service for everyone, the Catholic Church spoke out against this for Ireland on the grounds that Irish women would go to their doctors without their husband's permission "for all sorts of things".
Imagine that, and we are now left with this crazy system of medical cards, with the workers having to pay for all medical treatments, etc (but that's another story.)
So, the church has not learnt from the past. I am sick of listening to the priest every Sunday at Mass giving out about abortions and encouraging people to go on marches against it. Abortion won't go away, it's no good sweeping it under the carpet, pretending it is not happening. It will continue, so open your minds to it.
The law should be there to protect the women and girls today, not some possible baby of the future. It is the woman's choice; not an easy decision at any time. The law should be there for her, to help and support her decision. There are enough doctors and nurses who will help her, who can decide for themselves once the law is there.
Good luck, Mr Kenny, with this law. I hope you have the courage and support to get it through.
The carpet in Ireland is very lumpy, let's help flatten it out, and help our families in Ireland – not send them overseas. Is that our only solution?
Priests must stand up
While admiring the courageous and forthright declaration of the Irish bishops on the most fundamental moral imperative, the right to life, I must admit to disappointment at the seeming lack of concern about this vital issue by the Association of Catholic Priests.
J Anthony Gaughan,
Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin
Picture the scene. I am walking along with a woman and her 16-year-old child in a secluded area when the woman stops, pulls out a gun and points it at the child. She then says that if I do not permit her to kill her 16-year-old child, she will kill herself. I persuade her that all three of us should remain alive.
Next scene, I am walking with a woman and her 12-month-old baby when the same thing happens. If I do not permit her to kill her baby she will kill herself. Again, I try to dissuade her and remind her that most women would sacrifice themselves rather than have anything happen to their babies.
Next scene, I'm walking along with a woman who produces an implement as well as a gun and states that if I do not kill the infant in her womb with this instrument, she will kill herself. Again, I try and persuade her that all three of us should remain alive.
There is only one difference between these scenarios. When the baby is not seen, is it okay to kill it?
Enda Kenny showed a lot of emotion in the Dail when describing sexual abuse of children. Is this the same Mr Kenny who now is introducing legislation that will facilitate abortion?
The Taoiseach has a duty to protect all the people of this State, even those who are less than nine months old from conception.
Why does the Taoiseach use the brutal tactic of a dictator to deny a vote of conscience on this most crucial of issues – a choice of life or death?
Bangor, Co Down
Not content with rejecting the evidence of medical experts and lawyers, Mr Kenny now seems to think that he knows more about the constitutional implications of the X Case than members of the Supreme Court who wrote that decision.
"We're very clear here, that the question of suicidal intent is an issue that was dealt with by the Supreme Court decision. We, as a government, and I, as Taoiseach, am not able to unpick that Supreme Court decision and therefore to attempt to do so would first of all render the bill unconstitutional," he said (Irish Independent, July 8).
Not so, according to Mr Justice Hugh O'Flaherty, one of the four majority judges in the X Case.
"They're all talking about the X Case, but in effect, the X Case is moot because the girl didn't have an abortion. She had a miscarriage," he was reported as saying last Saturday.
"If the Supreme Court struck down an act as unconstitutional, that would be the end of that debate. There would be no two ways about it. But when it gives an opinion on a case, (and) that doesn't work out as submitted to it, then it's really an obiter dictum." This means an incidental but not binding remark or opinion by a judge in deciding a case.
Asked if he thought the Government was obliged to include the suicide clause, he is reported to have replied that this was not necessarily the case "for the reason that the case wasn't as binding as a different type of case would have been".
The X Case is not binding on the Oireachtas (as to the inclusion, or otherwise, in legislation of suicide as an instance of a "real and substantial threat" to the life of the mother), because that issue has not yet been argued before it in those terms.
Mr Kenny can no longer hide behind the decisions of others and claim that he is merely obeying orders. He is free "to unpick that Supreme Court decision". Let him inform and follow his own conscience in this grave matter and allow others to follow theirs.
Churchtown, Dublin 14
Based on recent news reports, I understand that a decision on the future of the National Monument on Moore Street will be made soon. I sincerely hope that you will choose preservation so that future generations may be able to view the historical treasure. Yes, it is derelict right now, but it offers Ireland a unique opportunity to tell the story of the brave men and women whose courage and determination lit the spark of nationalism that ultimately led to independence and nationhood.
I have written to you before to offer an American visitor's perspective, and I hope that you will not be offended by my persistence.
However, as an American Civil War re-enactor and supporter of historic preservation in the US, I have seen too much development in and around important historic sites. Too often, when I go on tours, the guide will point to a shopping complex, and try to explain troop movements that are impossible to visualise because the mall, convenience stores or gas stations mar the view.
And, unfortunately, in many cases people only recognise what they've lost after the area has been bulldozed and overdeveloped. I hope this does not happen on Moore Street.
Robin Mary Heaney
Attorney at Law, Rockville Centre, New York
Jokes as old as the hills
It was excruciating to watch 'Mrs Brown's Boys' last night. The jokes and the furniture of the set have one thing in common: they're second-hand and as old as the hills. The acting was that diabolical they wouldn't make it as extras on a silent movie!
Mill Lane, Leixlip