DOCTOR Tom Smith (Letters, July 17) recounts horrific tales of botched back street abortions in the West Midlands in the early 1960s prior to David Steel’s Abortion bill.

I trained as a staff nurse in Edinburgh and worked in a gynaecological ward in 1972.

Those having an abortion were often like those described by Dr Smith, in their thirties or forties, but now my account differs. As nurses we had been taught that abortion was "for the best" and that it was for those women exhausted by bearing many children. I totally absorbed this teaching and so I had no judgment of any who aborted their foetuses (they were not called babies). But I began to wonder where all these ladies with huge families we had been taught about were and I saw no one who looked poverty-stricken, What I observed frequently were women who had a couple of children of early school age and then this third one expected was considered inconvenient. Reading the notes it seemed that there was no extensive investigation into mental health of the mother. I came to realise that this was abortion on demand in most cases.

As our population growth is less than the death rate then the large family scenario does not now apply. We do not now live in the sixties but we are going back to back street abortions. This is in the sense that women are aborting their babies at home, though legally, but with no medical support and like in the sixties may turn up at A&E looking for help with complications. Kevin McKenna's article (“Why the hypocritical SNP is betraying the Yes movement”, The Herald, July 13) was spot on and he is to be applauded.

Irene Munro, Conon Bridge.