I'D like to take Kevin McKenna ("Why the hypocritical SNP is betraying the Yes movement", The Herald, July 13, and Letters, July 16) back with me to 1962-63, when I was a house officer in the biggest hospital in the English West Midlands. He could stand with me in one of the operating theatres on any evening of the year and witness the devastating tragedies that we were trying to prevent. Sadly, we were not always successful. At around 6pm the list started – never fewer than three, and often six or more. All had been admitted that day and were desperately ill. They had raging infections, perforated bowels, torrential bleeding, and, of course, dead or dying premature infants. These women were not wanting to end their pregnancies for petty reasons. Most were in their thirties or forties with already large families, exhausted and poor, with domineering and abusing husbands. Denied contraception by their church and denied medical terminations by the law, they could only turn to the amateurs in the back streets. Their abortions would be started off in some dingy, often filthy room, and they would be told to wait a few hours, then turn up at our outpatients department.

It is beyond my belief that such conditions still prevail in a part of the United Kingdom today, more than 50 years after we thought that David Steel's bill had ended them. I am no politician, but I can only applaud the fact that for this one cause, the SNP has abandoned its decision not to interfere with devolved cases in other parts of the UK. It is not hypocrisy to do so, Mr McKenna: it is humane. And it is not immoral or irreligious to try to help women in such circumstances. Your article was full of anger: should you not target your anger at the politicians who are allowing such misery to continue?

Dr Tom Smith, Girvan.

I DO not always share Kevin McKenna's views nor do I harbour any religious beliefs, but with regard to the Scottish National Party's arrogant and contemptuous meddling in Northern Irish affairs, how right he is.

It is remarkable how many of those who claim to espouse fashionable liberal values are incapable of tolerating perfectly legitimate opposing views, particularly if they are embedded in religious conviction.

That the ruling party in Scotland has chosen to arrogate to itself the power to impose its perceived moral authority on a dissenting majority in Ulster is not only an abuse of the devolution settlement, it is egotism of the most ominous and dangerous kind.

First Minister Sturgeon frequently refers to "the will of the Scottish people". Since the people of Northern Ireland cannot vote in a Scottish independence referendum, she clearly regards their will as counting for absolutely nothing.

Duncan Macintyre, Greenock.