Abortion: Readers respond to columnist Miriam, letter in last week’s issue, and ‘Friends for Life’ advertisement

Co Roscommon

Dear Editor,
With respect to the ‘advertisement’ sponsored by ‘Friends for Life’ on page 15 in your July 1st edition: The Roscommon People is no place for this image sponsored by the so-called ‘Friends for Life’. The sponsored image has no call to action, nothing to sell or any purpose other than to shame and hurt people who access necessary reproductive health services. I ask that you consider rejecting such sponsored images in the future.

Fifty-three women from Roscommon accessed terminations of pregnancy between January 1st 2020 and December 31st 2020, according to an annual Department of Health report. I ask you to think of how they feel seeing these sponsored images when enjoying ‘People Watching’ or Frank Brandon’s ‘Unique Take on Life’. In the lead-up to the 8th Amendment referendum in 2018, I volunteered for Together for Yes and canvassed my local community in Rooskey. I heard personal stories from local women about how hurtful and damaging such advertisements can be.

The toxic and hurtful language in this image such as ‘death by abortion’ is loaded with judgement. Even the statement ‘Pondering her baby with joyful thoughts’ is loaded. From speaking to women, be that locally or at the annual March for Choice in Dublin, I know that unwanted pregnancy is far from joyful. Rooskey, like the majority of Roscommon, showed compassion in voting yes to allow access to necessary reproductive healthcare.

I note that to the left of the hurtful image, a large text in ‘Miriam’s Musings’ asks: ‘Please stop shaming people for wearing their face masks’. Miriam is in agreement that we should not be shamed for exerting autonomy over our own healthcare decisions. I ask you, the editor, please stop allowing advertisements that shame women who undertake the hardest decision. Please consider your obligation to your readers and their wellbeing when choosing to include images such as this. Please don’t accept this sponsored image going forward.

As a local community newspaper you should prioritise the wellbeing of your readership over revenue from organisations that seek to shame those seeking necessary healthcare.

Yours sincerely,
Emmet King


Editor’s response: It is never the intention of the Roscommon People to cause hurt or distress to any reader. As a community newspaper we believe we have an obligation to accommodate all views (whether a letter, opinion column, etc.) an approach clearly evidenced by our coverage of the abortion issue. We are satisfied that it was proper to accept the particular advertisement referred to. Suffice to say the content of this (or any) advertisement cannot be presumed to represent the views of the Roscommon People.
-Paul Healy



Dear Editor,
The Roe v Wade decision and the whole abortion debate begs one fundamental question: Is the unborn human?

If the answer is no, then the pro-abortionists have a strong case.

If the answer is yes, then they have no case.

Yours sincerely,
J. Keane


Galway Road,

Dear Editor,
As one of that “sneaky, insidious, hypocritical and exploitative brigade” lambasted by she-of-wit-and-wisdom, columnist Miriam Kerins (Roscommon People, July 1st), I had to laugh when I read her article proclaiming to be pro-life while advocating abortion availability for every woman.

She rightly states all sentient beings, both human and animal, deserve to be loved, respected, and above all, protected, but obviously fails to extend this protection to unborn children. It made me wonder what species Ms Kerins places unborn children in!

I suggest Ms Kerins cools her intemperate language against pro-life folk, considering 33.6% of us voted ‘no’ to abortion in 2018.

Surely it’s preferable to engage in genuine discussions about tackling the root causes that drive women towards abortion, and demanding better practical supports for women, thereby creating a society where fewer abortions happen.

Yours sincerely,
Zoe McDermott


Leitrim Village,
County Leitrim

Dear Editor,
In the interest of balance and to inform some readers (who may have been misled by Miriam Kerins last week in her article entitled ‘No woman should ever be forced to submit her body to a pregnancy she’s unable to carry’), may I point out some of the support offered to women with crisis pregnancies by pro-life people, people Ms Kerins called “the members of that sneaky, insidious, hypocritical and exploitative anti-choice brigade”.

‘Gianna Care’ provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, home visits, companions for hospital appointments, midwifery lead support, one-to-one counselling with qualified psychotherapists, maternity and baby equipment, a 24-hour telephone support line, and post-abortive support groups, etc. ‘Community Connect’ is a support hub where parents-to-be can access material support (clothes, buggies and essential supplies for mother and baby). ‘Every Life Counts’ provides support and resources to parents who have received a diagnosis of a life-limiting condition for their baby to help them cherish whatever limited time they may have with their little loved one.

This is but three organisations who provide all of this support voluntarily, without a cent of Government funding, while GPs receive a ‘bounty’ of €450 for every abortion carried out, courtesy of you and I, the taxpayers.

Perhaps Ms Kerins would like to detail some of the support and actual choices that the so-called pro-choice people provide to women with crisis pregnancies, other than the ‘choice’ to abort their babies?

The vitriol in her language says much, as she continues, calling pro-life people “these banner-brandishing, bible-bashing, anti-choice folks”.

Yours sincerely,
Sinéad Tracey


Móin Uachtair,
Ráth Ara,
Contae Ros Comáin


Dear Editor,
A 2020 article in the Journal of Medical Ethics found that fetal pain in a gestational window of 12-24 weeks is not impossible, based on the neuroscience (Derbyshire SW, Bockmann JC, Reconsidering fetal pain, Journal of Medical Ethics 2020;46:3-6.). This review of medical literature, written by two researches with very different views on the morality of abortion, is just one example of the expansion of medical knowledge about the life of the unborn baby in the womb since the Roe-v-Wade was handed down in the US in 1973.

In the light of increasing knowledge of the development of the child in the womb, I am not at all surprised that a majority of US Supreme Court justices found that the US constitution did not, in fact, contain an unwritten right to abortion (reversing the 1973 decision) and this leaves each state to make its own laws on abortion.

Your columnist Miriam Kerins laments this return to the normal practice of making laws in a democracy, preferring a diktat handed down by seven ‘stale, pale, males’ in 1973, which allowed abortion up to birth. She clearly is a woman of compassion, as evidenced by her veganism, but sadly her compassion doesn’t seem to extend to the 63 million preborn children whose lives were lost to abortion in the USA since that decision.

The reversal of Roe-v-Wade does not, in fact, ban abortion outright, but it goes some way towards allowing protection of the right to life of unborn children in the US, albeit on a state by state basis.

Yours sincerely,
Siobhan Nic Cathail


Co Galway

Dear Editor,
In his letter re: Roe v Wade (Roscommon People, 1/7/22), Richard Cunningham mentions abortions taking place since the dawn of humanity, but we don’t know what supports were there in the past for women and men suffering trauma, remorse and grief as a result of abortion.

Nowadays, there are organisations like Gianna Care and Rachel’s Vineyards, who reach out to and offer support and healing.

Yours sincerely,
Michael Nolan



Dear Editor,
Regarding Richard Cunningham’s letter about Roe v Wade in the Roscommon People issue dated July 1st, 2022, Richard asks the question…what compassionate solutions do the pro-life community offer pregnant women?

To start with, Richard, ending the life of an innocent baby is never the answer. Abortion is a permanent and deadly response to a temporary crisis.

There are many wonderful pro-life organisations helping and supporting women in crisis pregnancies.

‘Gianna Care’ provide a complete package of care for women in unplanned pregnancies – i.e. services such as pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, baby equipment and materials, counselling, doctor referrals, financial support, and more. This is all free of charge. Freephone 1800 111141 or visit giannacare.ie.

Yours sincerely,
Mary Cuffe