YOUR report on a forthcoming abortion summit ("Sturgeon to convene buffer zone summit after ‘deeply wrong’ protests", The Herald, May 13) made sombre reading.

By focusing their anger on protests and vigils (whatever their merits or otherwise), pro-abortion activists and certain politicians are constructing a "straw man" in terms of alleged lack of access to abortion services, which is further fuelled by stoking concerns about events in America. All the while, substantive issues about post-abortion trauma and the rights of the unborn are overlooked and ignored.

The reality is that abortion remains widely and easily available in Scotland today. According to Public Health Scotland, 2020 saw the highest termination rate since 1991, with 13,815 abortions in total. It is sadly ironic that on the same day as the First Minister pledged to chair a summit on removing alleged barriers to abortions, the Scottish Government announced the continuation of its abortion at home provisions. This policy, introduced during the pandemic, is to be continued, even though the clinical evaluation of home abortions, commissioned by the Government itself, is not yet complete.

Abortion is, by definition, a sensitive subject, that demands to be discussed with care and compassion on all sides. The current exclusive focus on making abortion easier, and a refusal to engage with legitimate arguments about appropriate term limits and the vulnerability of the unborn, amounts to a deliberate shutting down of debate. Opening up the First Minister’s forthcoming summit to a range of views on abortion would be a welcome first step in redressing this balance.

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


I COMMEND Rosemary Goring on her article ("Women’s rights are being rolled back. Where will it end?", The Herald, May 11), in which she writes: "It seems evident that many institutions – notably the law and religious organisations – remain deeply patriarchal and misogynistic."

"Barefoot and pregnant" was an oft-heard phrase describing the condition of women in times past. From one who witnessed, as a child in Ireland, the consequences of women denied the right to plan parenthood, poverty was inevitable, thus the "barefoot" mother and child. Not only did religious dogma result in poverty, it also induced a sense of helplessness among the women. Therein lay the control implemented by both church and state, patriarchal and misogynist.

In the Herald Magazine, Saturday, September 26, 2020 (feature by Teddy Jamieson), Mary McAleese, former Irish President, described the Catholic Church as an "empire of misogyny". Sister Joan Chittister has stated: "I think, in many cases, your morality is deeply flawed if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth." Senator Elizabeth Warren stated outside the Supreme Court: "We're not going back!"

Correct. If this retrograde movement is allowed to develop, it will not just be women and children who suffer, it will be society as a whole.

Maureen McGarry-O'Hanlon, Balloch.

* ROSEMARY Goring infers that the language of John Mason MSP is "inflammatory rhetoric". Let your readers judge for themselves. Consider again.

He commented that abortions are "seldom essential or vital" and that healthcare clinics "push abortions without laying out the pros and cons". On the other hand it would be tedious to point out the many examples of exaggerated language in Ms Goring's unbalanced article, for example, "bad enough crossing a picket line with aggressive and vituperative strikers; it's a thousand times worse braving a reception committee of self-styled do-gooders". Ms Goring seems too young to have witnessed the miners strike.

As to the intensifying resistance to abortion Ms Goring deplores, we will just have to see which side of the argument a democratic society will come down on. I think it is safe to say there will be no return to back street abortionists, they could not possibly compete with the legally available provision of care in the market today, nor could a rising death toll as a result come close to upward of nine million terminations.

R Murray, Glasgow.


AFTER a fortnight of frustrating emails and phone calls, to and from Scottish Power, I'm now being told that the reason that my smart meter display device (the In-Home Device, IHD) isn't reporting my proper costs and details is because it is faulty, and due to be recalled or replaced.

This small detail has escaped Scottish Power's literature and website and frustrated attempts to monitor our electricity costs.

Of course, there is no coherent plan to sort this problem out, just "phone back in July". I suppose the electricity must be free until then?

Allan McDougall, Neilston.


EVERYONE thinks this; everyone says that; everyone does the other and everyone is on Facebook, and on Radio 4 recently I heard that everyone owns and uses an iPod. Well we jolly well do not, so it was quite heartening to read on your Letters Pages (May 13) that Willie Towers, when referring to the Rooney v Hardy story, says that "it is equally alarming that so many of the public take such an interest in this trivia". He does not say all of the public. There is not an "everyone" in sight.

Thank you, Mr Towers, for acknowledging the fact that the human race is a very diverse set of thinkers, sayers, doers and owners of things and cannot be lumped together.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


TO assist Gordon Berry (Letters, May 13) on what to call someone with whom you are romantically attached but not married several terms spring to mind, depending of course on the immediate warmth of the relationship, expectation, or temporary frost:

Tiger, Bee’s Knees, The One, Simply the Best, The Boss, Guv, She Who Must be Obeyed, Ball and Chain.

Perhaps safer just to use the Christian name, and certainly to avoid affectionate and intimate such as honey-bunch and cutie-patookie.

Or for Mr Berry “The Berry Cherry” might do the trick.

R Russell Smith, Largs.