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Keep Church and State out of debate on abortion

Eamonn McCann is to be congratulated on his excellent article (Belfast Telegraph, October 11).

I agree with him that most people can think of at least one circumstance in which they would accept the termination of a pregnancy as a more acceptable solution than continuing it, especially if they themselves, or someone they loved or cared about, was the pregnant woman in question. Abortion does happen in Northern Ireland, but only for foetal abnormality or for serious maternal health issues.

Without any law, such as the 1967 Abortion Act, healthcare workers and patients find themselves in a grey area of legality.

Never mind rolling out the 1967 Act to Northern Ireland as a matter of bringing us into line with the rest of the UK, we should have some legal framework in place for these women and their healthcare providers for their protection.

This issue needs to be decided by either a blanket acceptance of the 1967 Act, or by a referendum based on the views of the majority of people in this province.

Emotive as this issue is, the only real stakeholders from practical and ethical perspectives are the woman herself and her doctor and this issue should be decided privately between them. The State and the Church have no place in that relationship.

A woman and doctor, Belfast

Belfast Telegraph


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