Letters to the Editor

Medical practice is flagging up unavoidable abortion questions

I t was fascinating to read letters from Suneil Sharma and Fr Patrick McCafferty (July 6). Their fundamental starting presuppositions on the abortion debate sound widely different, to the point where a moderate reader might imagine the question being addressed as impossible to resolve, just a matter of personal taste – like preferring black tea to tea with milk.

Choice42 (‘Choice for Two’) have a couple of magnificent film animations, each lasting only one to two minutes, on the video section of their website. These films concisely make points which Catholic and evangelical communicators across Ireland have struggled to successfully convey in recent years. Would a bold priest or minister dare to show these films in church or host them on a parish website?

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.” Judaeo-Christian moral systems are rooted in the sacred scriptures, like the verse just quoted from the Old Testament in the Book of Deuteronomy.

The pandemic may have accelerated a move to ‘home drug abortion’. Leaving aside the Old Testament (or the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church) it feels to me as if medical practice is flagging up half a dozen unavoidable questions, which will affirm and should encourage the bold pro-life stance of Fr McCafferty.

Will we see cases of PTSD arise from home drug abortion? Is there gross gender inequality, if millions of female foetuses are being selectively aborted in countries like India?

Might unrestricted abortion dilute NHS care available for fatal foetal abnormality or crisis pregnancies (through rape or incest)? Do we need to address the question of foetal pain relief, for abortions taking place between the first and second trimester, in the light of a new science study? Are the standard 12 and 24 week limits for abortion in Ireland and the UK both brutally cruel? Can any sensible person view the 12-week ultrasound scan of the unborn human on the NHS website (a neutral source) and not feel some sympathy, or even strong affinity, with the views expressed by Fr McCafferty?

Belfast BT5


Straw man argument

Suneil Sharma (July 6) made a a bad faith attack on the pro-life movement which must be countered. There is the straw man argument that pro-life people want to exert control over women’s bodies. This is nonsense as the baby has different DNA from the mother so it is the baby’s body, not the mother’s body, and in any case the human right to life is not dependent on location. There was the false claim that this is not an attack on Christian faith but Exodus 20:13 is clear - “Thou shalt not kill” - and that was the very cause Suneil was attacking. If Biden was so concerned about the sacrament of Eucharist he would repent for his sins and reverse his policy on abortion. He has not done either of those things and that is precisely the point. Suneil also complains that Biden is the victim of a punishment beating. If only that was the case. Compared with the treatment meted out to his predecessor, Biden has been excessively coddled. Suneil said that Catholics should focus on healthcare. I don’t recall reading Suneil’s letters on medicare for all or raising national insurance which would have been better to read than his pro-choice views. Being pro-choice means someone supports one person’s choice to ensure that another person never gets to make any choices. Suneil said that Catholics should address mass shootings and gun control. There are 38,355 gun deaths in America per year, 23,941 are suicides which means there are 14,414 gun homicides every year. When the latter figure is compared with 2.5 million defensive gun uses a year the ratio is 173 lives saved with guns to one taken by the use of a gun. Karl Marx said: “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated by forces if necessary.”

Suneil assailed Catholics about not caring about income and wealth inequality and in the next sentence he assailed a Marxist position without the slightest hint of irony. I believe Suneil would be more in step with the man who created a lot of income and wealth inequality, Ronald Reagan, when he said: “I see no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons.”

Belfast BT11


Benefiting the few at expense of the many

I would like to respond to Robert Sullivan (July 2), who supports southern landlords being awarded a rent increase of 8 per cent, which benefits the few at the expense of the many – these tenants have not received any wage increase to compensate them for it. I have always believed that councils should supply most of the rental property on both sides of the border and without the discrimination previously operated in these six counties.

These price increases are caused by inflation, which would normally be controlled by increases in interest rates, but this cannot happen here due to the reckless use of quantitive easing (money printing). The wages that most citizens earn just cannot cover the cost of a mortgage at today’s prices. So rental is all that is open to them, unlike Robert Sullivan, who not only appears to own his own home, but seems to own others.

Sinn Féin is the junior partner in these six counties and cannot pass meaningful legislation, especially if it went against unionist ideals – that’s the way it works up here, Good Friday Agreement or not. 

Ballycastle, Co Antrim


Never has ‘staying home’ meant so much

I used to love going to a restaurant just because it was there and there was good food and hospitality to be enjoyed to boot. Staff were glad to see us.

But now all that has changed with any thoughts of going out to dinner amid the protocols and the promises from cafe managers to government that we’ll be kept under strict made-up control by way of assurances to the current ruling regime fills me with dread.

I can only see in my mind’s eye the admonishment from a waiter or waitress that I wait where they put me and not to question their authority.

There lies the table for two, sure to bring on my 19th nervous breakdown before we even get to sit at it.

Never has ‘stay at home’ meant so much.

Bantry, Co Cork

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Letters to the Editor