JAMES McEnaney’s investigation into an anti-abortion group visiting Scotland’s schools ("Anti-abortion group makes dozens of visits to schools", The Herald, December 19) made for shocking reading. It is simply appalling that this group is allowed to visit schools (including primaries) in 2022.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is currently spreading the myth of "coerced abortion". In actual fact pregnancy is when women are most likely to be abused by their partner and the pregnancy used to exert control over them. Not only has the SPUC opposed marriage equality, it has also rigorously campaigned against buffer zones to protect women and patients from harassment from anti-abortion protesters outside hospitals. Hardly the behaviour of a group that is appropriate to talk to children.

Anti-abortion groups rely on spreading misinformation in their messaging. Young people have a right to accurate information regarding their health and wellbeing. Statistics show that one rape per day occurs within UK schools. If the girl subjected to rape is impregnated, should she be forced to also sacrifice her education and childhood?

An ectopic pregnancy can quickly become a medical emergency that requires an abortion. An incomplete miscarriage can lead to life-threatening sepsis if an abortion is not performed. Anti-abortion rhetoric is not "pro-life". The last thing children, especially girls, need is to be made to feel that they are evil for choosing abortion should they ever need or want one. Abortion is legal and necessary healthcare. End of story. Keep extremist dogma away from children.
Gemma Clark, Johnstone

Our society is hypocritical

WE are a seriously inconsistent society. Maybe even hypocritical. James McEnaney's article shows us up.

We are currently celebrating the birth of a child conceived out of wedlock. His working-class parents had to endure small-town gossip about his conception. Shortly after his birth they had to rush him to safety in a neighbouring country to escape the intentions of a someone who wanted to kill him. We know the child's name well: Jesus Christ.

Simultaneously we have critics raising "grave concerns" about the initiative a human rights group is taking to educate our children about, among other things, the issue of abortion – that is, about deliberately ending the life of a child in the womb. We know the name of that group as well: the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

This article prompts us to make a choice. Either we side with those who stick up for the right to life of unborn children or we become hypocrites and join the ranks of those who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ while simultaneously consenting to the killing of children conceived out of wedlock as he was.
David Kennedy, Glasgow

• JAMES McEnaney's article seemed to me like a game of two halves.

The first half would have read like a strike against the right of Catholic schools to teach the pupils the doctrine of the faith and the right of Catholic teachers to be aided and abetted in promoting the right of every child in the womb to life.

The second half of the article modified this position, particularly when it cites the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The source of my personal anxiety as a Catholic and a priest, is that the Rights of the Child must surely begin in the womb. What is it about the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in supporting our Catholic teachers that merits an investigation?
Father Joe Mills, Glasgow

The SPUC is mainstream

YOUR front-page lead article today begins with the words “A controversial anti-abortion group…..”

In what way is the SPUC controversial? It is a mainstream, anti-abortion charity. SPUC promotes an alternative stance on abortion which is in opposition to the view that it is merely a routine health procedure.

It’s understandable that Catholic schools invite SPUC to make presentations to their young people who can then make considered decisions and form their own opinions.
James Quinn, Lanark

Rwanda decision is outrageous

IT'S official. Or at least according to the High Court in England it is. Hotel Rwanda is open for business ("UK's Rwanda deportation policy deemed lawful by High Court", heraldscotland, December 19). Except it's not a hotel, it's a prison camp for people fleeing persecution, war and violence, and trying to start a new life in what they perceived to be a welcoming, friendly country.

But the UK is not that any more, thanks to the outrageous, inhumane, ignorant and arrogant policies of the most far-right Tory government of my lifetime (and I lived through the Thatcher years).

The costs involved in this insane project are staggering – £120 million for starters, then approximately £40,000 for each asylum seeker sent to East Africa, their fate unknown. "But they are not coming back to Britain" applaud the smug, privately-educated Tories on the plush Westminster benches.

And we haven't even started calculating the legal costs of this ludicrous scheme.

"This will deter them from crossing the Channel in tiny boats," say the Tories. No it won't. I can't imagine anyone from war-torn Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, taking a step back from the beaches and thinking "Erm... Rwanda?"

Why can't this incompetent Government come up with a workable plan to process asylum seekers in this country and then let the vast majority contribute to our culture and economy?

It's not rocket science, but it is obviously beyond the intelligence of the political clowns who run our country.
Andy Stenton, Glasgow

Labour is afraid to lead

DENIS Bruce (Letters, December 19) very correctly highlights how the Tory right-wing's small-state, monetarist, austerity policies have turned the UK into a near-banana republic (ironically with a monarch, but one whose powers it has sought to circumvent) to the point that trade unions, even nurses for goodness sake, have finally had enough.

Part of the reason for the union/Government impasse that Mr Bruce highlights has been a very feeble opposition Labour Party, which is afraid to lead, but instead follows the populist right-wing Tory technique of appealing to the baser instincts of less enlightened voters, hence Sir Keir Starmer's refusal to consider a closer relationship with the EU. The unions, notably in the shape of Mick Lynch and Pat Cullen, have filled the leadership void left by Labour, and we should be glad that they have.

Mr Bruce is optimistic that the Tory leadership will finally see sense and relax their hard-right economic policies as a final act of contrition before their eventual removal from office; I fear he will be disappointed. First, this mendacious Tory Government has not yet given up on the next election, and secondly, its instincts now will be to nail down what it sees as its gains of the last 12 years in a kind of scorched earth policy, making it as difficult as possible for the next government to undo the damage.
John Jamieson, Ayr

Strikers are losing out too

SOME of our elected politicians seem to think that they have been given the authority, by their access to public media, to say that our mail, rail and nursing staff are somehow in the wrong to exercise their right to withdraw their own labour in pursuit of a wage that gets close to the current (10%+) inflation that is slashing their incomes.

Privileged politicians seem to forget that these workers are members of the public whose own families are also inconvenienced while they have no alternative but to strike and lose wages.
Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen

Have we all forgotten Iraq?

AN article on the BBC website tells me that "experts" have stated that Russian attacks on Ukranian energy facilities are a breach of international law, which they may well be. They may also well be, as other "experts" have claimed, war crimes. Not being an "expert", I cannot pass judgment.

However my memory is still good enough to recall that 20 years ago, prior to the invasion of Iraq, George W Bush and Tony Blair unleashed Shock and Awe which destroyed not only Iraq's power grid but its water and sewage supplies as well, causing untold human suffering and death, far beyond the actual 7,000-plus civilians who were killed in the bombardments. (Putin's recent infrastructure attacks have killed a little over 1% of their Bush-Blair predecessor.) Two decades later, these infrastructure facilities in Iraq still do not operate to pre-war capacity.

Did I miss something? Could it be that such actions have recently been declared violations of international law and possible war crimes? Or, more likely, in these expressions of outrage, are we not once again dealing with the cynical and hypocritical operation of dual standards? If we do it, it's okay if they do it, it's not.

Sadly, popular gullibility and amnesia are equal to the politicians' mendacity on issues such as these.
Ian R Mitchell, Glasgow


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