AS predictably as night following day, the leak of the US Supreme Court opinion on Roe v Wade has brought out the anti-abortionists, epitomised by your correspondent Martin Conroy (Letters, May 5).

Since Mr Conroy, in spite of his over-simplified and over-emotional views on the subject of abortion, abhors scientific inaccuracy, may I direct his attention to the May 4 edition of New Scientist, wherein he will find the following facts in an article by Dana G Smith.

A large body of evidence now exists to show that repealing Roe v Wade will not decrease the number of abortions; all it will do is increase the number of deaths of women from the procedure.

In fact, countries with restrictive abortion laws actually have higher numbers of abortions than countries with more liberal laws, according to a 2009 study by researchers in Boston. What these laws do instead is substantially increase the risk of death for those who receive abortions.

Mr Conroy states that abortion “does not make a woman healthier”. But that is precisely what it does do; carrying a baby to full term is always riskier than having a legal, medically supervised, abortion. Deaths per 100,000 for legal abortions are 0.41; deaths per 100,000 for live births are 23.8.

The same study reported that abortion-related deaths are 34 times higher in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Any repeal of Roe v Wade would be disastrous for women’s health and would also result in a greater number of deaths of unborn babies.

Let’s hope, unlike Mr Conroy, that there are no changes to UK abortion law.

Hilary Shearer, Cumbernauld.

* WHY am I not surprised that today’s letter on abortion (May 5) is written by a man?

John N E Rankin, Bridge of Allan.


MARTIN Conroy suggests that the ongoing debate in the United States about the possibility of the Supreme Court re-visiting Roe v Wade could lead to a renewed discussion on this side of the Atlantic about “the humanity of the unborn”. Regrettably, it appears that the opposite has happened with events in the US merely having turbo-charged existing calls for "buffer zones" in Scotland, which has itself has become a proxy for a wider campaign against the "pro-life" position ("Pledge to speed up abortion protest ‘buffers’", The Herald, May 5).

There may well be arguments for or against buffer zones, however this issue is surely secondary to the wider importance of advocating for the rights of unborn children, who are without doubt the most vulnerable group in society. Rather than use the US situation to heighten existing "pro-choice" rhetoric, it would be heartening to hear our politicians engaging in an open debate about how the welfare of mothers – and their unborn children – could be at the centre of policy-making going forward.

Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer, CARE for Scotland, Glasgow.


I COMPLETELY agree with D Connor's excellent letter (May 4). My local council-run swimming pool is allowing men into women's changing rooms, the reasoning being it enabled "easier" cleaning during Covid restrictions.

I believe this discriminates against women and have registered my complaint. I wouldn't dream of entering a male toilet, or changing room. Why should a man be permitted into a female-only space?

Susan McKenzie, Fort William.


ANDY Maciver ("Here’s a simple idea to change the way we think about NHS", The Herald, May 5) advises readers to “do the maths”. He should take his own advice. An average earner on £25,000 per year would pay combined tax and National Insurance of about £4,530 in England and a bit less, £4,510, in Scotland based on the current National Insurance threshold of £9,880 per annum (the actual figures for 2022-23 will be lower by about £270 because the National Insurance threshold increases in July to £12 570), and not the “let’s say £8,000” as stated in his article.

Also, why does he quote the estimated cost per person for the NHS and some European countries in dollars (US I presume)? A simple multiplication could have converted the OECD US dollar figures into pounds sterling, allowing a direct comparison with the average earnings and tax and NI figures. I suspect that many readers may have missed the currency change in the middle of his article.

Des McGhee, Milngavie.


IT'S almost a week now that we have been without Marks & Spencer on Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street ("Farewell, then, Marks & Spencer. Life just won’t be the same without you", Herald Magazine, April 30).

Goodbyes, vintage 1930s, come to mind. Cranstons Waverley Hotel, and the Wellington Arcade were lost then; Marks and Woolworths had arrived. Changing times then and even more so today. Hopefully the old street will rise to the challenge.

Brian D Henderson, Glasgow.


ONE aspect of the census and the lower than expected responses which has not been highlighted is the fact that some of the questions in the census require subjective, rather than objective answers.

I took on the responsibility for completing the census and, as far as I am aware, correctly completed the sections which I could answer. I then had to answer the same questions regarding my wife. Rather than assume that I knew the answers I checked with her regarding the correct response. Much to my surprise she indicated that I should indicate that she had partial hearing loss. When I told her that I had answered that I did not have a hearing loss she suggested that I might be subject to a fine for having incorrectly answered a question in the census.

In my defence I can point out that if I drop a pound coin on the floor I hear the noise of the coin hitting the ground and that failure to hear instructions, in my view, constitutes a lack of interest in the conversation, whereas my wife attributes this to deafness.

Sandy Gemmill, Edinburgh.