Tuesday 19 November 2019

Let's all take care of mothers and their babies

* Should this letter be published, by the time it appears in newsprint the sound and the fury over the abortion debate will have abated somewhat and a matter that has been dodged by governments for decades will have been addressed.

I commend Enda Kenny for acknowledging his responsibilities. No I am not "pro-life" per se, nor, I hasten to add, am I pro-choice.

I am one of the many who harbour in a twilight agnosticism far from the madding crowd.

Of course I would love to see every expectant mother given the support and love to bring her infant into this world.

I would also hope that those who are overwhelmed and incapable of doing so are afforded all of their needs. But ours is far from a perfect or idyllic existence. In the utopia of my private views all would be cherished, capable of parenting, and loved.

Yet every year there is a silent procession to the UK, and other countries, of thousands of Irish women seeking terminations, abortions or whatever is the word we use nowadays to classify this tragedy.

Until now we have always looked the other way. At least a modicum of realism has been introduced – we have finally acknowledged that there are circumstances where doctors have been circumscribed from discharging their medical obligations.

I am not happy that this amendment has been voted through. There is no triumph, but we have at least matured enough to take some moral responsibility.

There is no subject more charged with emotion than abortion, and that is as it should be for there is no gift more precious than life.

Let us do all we can to take care of mothers and their babies, and this includes bringing errant fathers into the equation and compelling them to play their part so that a mother is not left in an impossible position.

There are very few absolute truths in life.

However, one of them is that all must ultimately take responsibility for their decisions. If one goes through the long and lonely night of the soul and makes a decision in good faith then why should there be such haste in casting the first stone?

In the end there are no black, white or grey areas, these metaphors are confounding – there is really only life. Compassion and a resolution to care for each other are the only lights we have.

PW Du Barry

Monkstown, Co Dublin


* During the 2011 General Election campaign, Fine Gael gave a commitment in writing to the voters that the party would not legislate for abortion. People voted for Fine Gael in the election on that basis, so Enda Kenny and Fine Gael have no mandate from the Irish people to introduce abortion legislation.

Despite this, Enda Kenny has brought the abortion legislation through the Daíl, and the Fine Gael deputies who had the courage to stand up for life and the party's commitment to the Irish people have been expelled from the parliamentary party.

No wonder people are cynical about politicians and political promises. Sadly, in this case, Fine Gael's broken promise will lead to broken lives.

That is the ultimate political betrayal.

Dr Cliodhna Donnelly

Aisling, Knocknacarra, Galway

* Rosaleen Hogan ('No right to take life', Letters, July 9) asks: "How can we embody a law that allows the suicidal ideation of a mother to decide the fate of her unborn child?"

There is one major point that Ms Hogan seems not to have taken into consideration – when a mother commits suicide, her unborn child will die automatically at the same time. Perhaps this factor might change the ethical calculus regarding abortion in this particular case.

Martin D Stern

Hanover Gardens, Salford, England

* It is a pity after what was a very good and open debate on the protection of life that key people have now taken unreasonable entrenched positions.

The Taoiseach is in effect excommunicating TDs and senators from Fine Gael who do not fully back the bill. On the other hand many pro-lifers, and in particular the Catholic Church, are opposing any legislation at all.

I would suggest the following solution: Remove the provisions of suicide from the bill. Have a tied vote on this reduced bill. Put the provisions on suicide in a separate proposal and have a free vote on those proposals.

If the outcome is approval for the suicide issue reinsert it in the bill and that's the end of the matter.

If the outcome is rejection, pass the bill on physical danger.

The bill would not be unconstitutional – it would be silent on suicide. It does not change the existing legal position – the courts would still hear cases on danger of suicide.

At the same time as passing the bill the Government announces that it is preparing a referendum on the suicide issue.

Such an announcement would make it clear that the courts would only have to proceed by case law for a limited period.

John F Jordan

Rue de la Rive, 72, 1200 Bruxelles

* The abortion debate has thrown up all sorts of sideshows, none of them particularly complimentary to the Fourth Estate.

Firstly, despite the deep divide in the country, this is not mirrored in media commentary/editorials.

Secondly, we have the bizarre situation where only a few months ago the media were craven in their hero worship of Fr Tony Flannery, when he received a relatively mild slap on the knuckles from the Vatican, and effectively lost the party whip. We were told this was a brave example of an individual obeying his conscience. Fast forward to now, and when really brave individuals actually risk their livelihoods by defying the Government party whip, they are sneered at by most of the media.

Finally, in stating its case in opposition to the bill the Catholic Church appeals to natural law/scientific principles, while Enda wraps some kind of spurious Catholic flag around himself. It appears that the intellectual infantilisation of 'Modern/Liberal' Ireland continues apace.

Eric Conway

Navan, Co Meath


* A bizarre situation occurred when Osama bin Laden was pulled over for speeding on the way home from a bazaar many years before his capture.

According to the wife of his trusted bodyguard he "quickly settled the matter". You see, just like here, the "golden-circle" always get off. Ask some of our TDs and celebs.

Sean Kelly

Tramore, Co Waterford


* Can we finally draw a line under the contentious issue of Brian O'Driscoll's omission from the Lions team for the Third Test, by respecting the opinions of the player himself?

On January 18, 2011, Brian O'Driscoll stated publicly, while captain of Ireland, that Warren Gatland, the Wales manager, should leave out the Welsh centre, Gavin Henson, who was available for Wales after a series of injuries.

O'Driscoll said: "But when it comes to being selected for the Wales squad for the Six Nations, I don't know about that, whether he's injured or not.

"Centre is an area where Wales have a wealth of talent and experience. No one should be selected on reputation alone."

John Hopwood

Killiney, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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