Letters to the Editor

Imperative to resolutely defend human rights of Irish children

There are many reasons to vote no in the upcoming referendum. In October last year, Simon Harris, who used to actively seek pro-life votes, said the state would fund abortion if the Eighth Amendment is repealed. In such circumstances how can pro-life taxpayers in the 26 counties be conscientious objectors? Also, given that Leinster House does not fund necessary scoliosis and cataract  treatments why on earth should tax revenue be directed towards such a practice? Another aspect that has not been thoroughly and properly addressed is that it is difficult to go back to having pro-life laws after abortion is legalised. The fact that Roe versus Wade, Doe versus Bolton and Planned Parenthood versus Casey have never been quashed and overturned shows abolition of pro-abortion laws is a mammoth task as does the fact that the Abortion Act 1967 has not been repealed in six decades.
The media in Ireland has performed poorly and in refusing to highlight the fact that the repeal campaign uses a minority of hard cases to justify on demand abortion for any motivation. The British Department of Health’s 2016 statistics on abortions in England and Wales were performed for what they term social reasons which is the euphemism that they use for on-demand convenience. Another thing the media has not drawn attention to is the fact that the rare cases when abortion is carried out to physically save the life of the mother are legal under the Eighth Amendment to the 1937 Free State constitution as well as the Offences Against The Person Act 1861. People should not vote for repeal on the false premise that abortions performed to save the mother’s life are illegal when the opposite is true. The high number of abortions when abortion is legalised is a reason to vote no. The 2016 Department of Health figures show that there were 190,406 abortions in England and Wales that year. The Information Services Division 2016 statistics show that 12,063 abortions in Scotland and this means that 202,469 abortions occur in Britain annually. The Guttmacher Institute report on abortions performed during 2014 shows that 926,200 occurred in the United States that year. The sheer scale of this justifies a no vote. 
The ISD statistics showed that Ground E abortions increased from 136 in Scotland during 2011 to 214 during 2016. Ground E abortions are performed when there is a substantial risk of the child suffering serious handicaps such as mental and physical abnormalities. In other words eugenic abortions to rid society of disabled children. This is a noble reason to vote no. It is imperative that we resolutely defend the human rights of Irish children.

ÉAMONN MacGRIANNA
Belfast BT12

 

Constitution effaces individual identity of Irish women

Incarcerated in Magdalen Laundries, in most cases by their families, because of the ‘shame’ of becoming pregnant out of wedlock. In these laundries women were used as slave labour, subjected to psychological and physical abuse and suffered the trauma of having their child forcibly taken from them and placed up for adoption without their consent. 

The Irish woman had been banished from the public sphere and imprisoned in the home by Article 41 of the Irish Constitution. For instance, the constitution outlines that: “The state recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The state shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

De Valera’s Ireland of ‘cosy homesteads’ is still very much engrained in the constitution. The fact the words woman and mother are interchangeable in the constitution highlights how the Irish State fails to recognise women as individuals in their own right, completely separate from the mothering and nurturing social role expected of  and imposed on them. The constitution effaces the individual identity of Irish women and ignores their true worth and value by violently reducing them to the figure of the Madonna.

The Irish state continues to police Irish women’s bodies. Presently women do not have full bodily autonomy in Ireland. Freedom is a mere illusion for women in Ireland. Patriarchy still continues to toxically seep through every cornerstone of society, bullying citizens into acquiescence of its will. Patriarchy’s fall from power is yet to come – perhaps next Friday it will meet its long
awaited end. 

KATIE MOORE
Lurgan, Co Armagh

 

 

DUP MLA’s double standards

Recently the DUP’s Carla Lockhart took to all available media sources to highlight how people were using social media as a tool for cyber bullying, of which Carla Lockhart herself is a recent victim. Republican Network for Unity condemn all types of bullying whether physical or via social media.

However, Ms Lockhart has now used the very source [social media] that she claimed needed to be changed for the sake of society, to claim ‘Cliftonville got what they deserved’ following their cup defeat by Coleraine.

Cliftonville Football Club decided to protest however in a dignified manner by standing shoulder to shoulder and heads bowed during the playing of the English Anthem, following a decline from the IFA not to play it. 

For doing so Carla and many other unionist/loyalist political representatives have taken to social media to condemn Cliftonville’s actions. 

Republican Network for Unity wish to point out to Ms Lockhart and her cohorts – the queen has no place in Ireland therefore we don’t recognise her anthem. Also the IFA need to understand the ‘I’ in their title means ‘Irish’ not English or British so why not play Amhrán na bhFiann.

EADBHÁRD Ó CUINN
Belfast

 

Prognosis on Brexit impasse

Everytime the EU seems to reject British proposals for customs relationships a phoney ‘war’ cabinet convenes and splits appear for ministers to slug it out (with ministers giving a running commentary). 

I suspect that this is a negotiation tactic and false war thought up by Westminster mandarins.

The EU team publicly comes out with guarded support for ‘beleaguered’ Theresa May and now studies the previously rejected magical thinking. 

Jean-Claude Juncker  with Napoleon Barnier on board rides to the rescue on his white stallion called ‘compromise’ to rescue the poor oppressed prime minster.

The Brexiteers then accept the previously unacceptable proposals ‘the end justifies the means’ with pro-remain conservatives claiming victory.

Are we been played for fools on this serious question which will affect all Europeans and British alike?

MICHAEL McAULEY
Rathcoole, Co Dublin

 

‘Liberalising’ abortion laws

In The Irish News article ‘Google bans abortion poll ads’ (May 10) it was stated ‘Repealing the constitutional amendment would pave the way for laws allowing abortion of pregnancies up to 12 weeks.’ The situation would actually be very much worse than that. Abortion on demand would be allowed up to 12 weeks.

Abortions up to when the baby is considered ‘viable’ (usually meaning 24 weeks) would be done if it was considered that the mental or physical health of the mother was at risk.

People for Profit have said if the Eighth Amendment is repealed, they will try to further ‘liberalise’ the abortions laws in five years time. We would be then in the same situation as the UK where 98 per cent of abortions are done for ‘social reasons’.

Dr OWEN GALLAGHER
Glenavy, Co Antrim

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