Opinion Letters

Tuesday 17 September 2019

What is wrong with giving equal rights?

Sir - It is very welcome to see Eilis O'Hanlon's article (Sunday Independent, October 22) acknowledge the democratic shortcomings of the Oireachtas committee on abortion, but it does raise serious questions as to why the media, in general, turns a blind eye to this as long as it is in line with abortion groupthink.

We deserve better and I am glad the Sunday Independent is willing to lend some balance to the debate on abortion.

As Ms O'Hanlon points out, "practically nowhere was Boylan's (Dr Peter) claim (that the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar was due to the Eighth Amendment) subjected to scrutiny in the Irish media last week". Why was this not queried?

It is surprising that we have read of no evidence from the many gynaecologists who value the Eighth Amendment and do everything possible to save the lives of both mothers and babies.

Surely it is not that these voices were deliberately silenced, as were those women who were hurt by abortion and refused a hearing at the Citizens' Assembly?

I'm afraid that Ms O'Hanlon is right when she says that "the battle for fairness may already be lost" with 25 witnesses being pro-choice and four pro-life. Do we value democracy so little that we will allow propaganda to dictate the conversation over whether we should remove the protection for the baby in the womb from our Constitution?

As Ms O'Hanlon points out, "more women die during pregnancy in the UK, where abortion has been legal since 1967 and where sepsis is the leading cause of death in pregnancy in 71pc of cases because of substandard care, mainly a delay in diagnosis, same as Savita". Our maternal death rate being much lower than that in Britain, why are we coming under such pressure to introduce abortion here?

Mary Stewart (Mrs),

Donegal Town

We need access to all the facts

Sir - Eilis O'Hanlon in her excellent article ('Being a cartoon villain doesn't make Ronan Mullen wrong about everything', Sunday Independent, October 22) highlighted the bias that many seem to accept in relation to the abortion debate, and ignore the facts - Savita Halappanavar's life was lost due to a delay in treating sepsis; the Oireachtas committee has heard more evidence from witnesses supporting repeal; and Amnesty International and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission are one-sided.

While arguably there was bias against pro-choice voices in 1983 when the amendment change to our Constitution was made, surely we must learn that it is in the interest of everyone to be able to have access to all the facts on this emotional issue and to respectfully listen to all voices.

Frank Browne,

Dublin 16

Pointing the blame for Brexit decision

Sir - Ed Brophy (Sunday Independent, October 22) tells us that "a hard Brexit forced on the UK would lead to ruin for Ireland". The UK voted to leave the EU. Its politicians negotiating on its behalf define that as leaving both the customs union and the single market. No member of the EU 27 forced them to do that.

That is a hard Brexit, but that is the decision of the UK alone.

The consequences of that decision for Ireland and indeed for all concerned will, therefore, be the responsibility of the UK.

Blaming anyone else is ignoring the facts and missing the point.

A Leavy,

Dublin 13

Sunday Independent

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