ROSEMARY Goring peddles the false narrative that pro-life prayer vigils taking place outside abortion facilities involve harassment and intimidation and even makes the ridiculous claim that praying equates to bullying ("When praying resembles little more than bullying", The Herald, March 25). Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I note that Ms Goring is silent about the real harassment, intimidation and bullying that takes place, namely towards the vigil participants.

This year, those taking part in the 40 Days for Life vigil have had to endure nasty pro-abortion posters being placed behind where they stand, expletive-laden verbal abuse, rude hand gestures and they've even had eggs thrown at them. Recently, an HGV driver was deliberately parking his vehicle directly in front of the group. Fortunately, this was short-lived once the company became aware of its driver's behaviour.

Despite all this, the group has stood firm, continuing to pray and offer help to those women most in need. Whilst Ms Goring thinks the vigil participants are more suited to "handing custard creams around at church coffee-mornings", many of them have years of experience with crisis pregnancy counselling. They know what they are doing, and that is offering help to vulnerable women.

Since the start of this year's vigil, 233 babies have been saved worldwide. One of those was in Glasgow when a couple heading to the hospital for an abortion saw the message boards and decided to keep their baby. This should normally be a cause for jubilation yet Ms Goring chillingly claims that killing such unborn children is "safe", "swift" and part of secular society's great "advances". There are more than 10 million reasons why this is not the case, namely the lives of all those children killed by abortion since its legalisation in 1967. When all is said and done, the buffer zones which Ms Goring so eagerly champions are illiberal, unnecessary and motivated solely by pro-abortion ideology. Women and their children deserve better than abortion and the sooner we can all work to end the horror of abortion the better.

Martin Conroy, Cockburnspath.

•  ROSEMARY Goring might like to consider these questions. Why is there greater human sensitivity towards and concern for the natural environment and for animal species than there is towards the unborn human child? Is industrial-scale abortion in this country a good thing?

If those of us who live had been aborted we would not exist: should we not extend the same right to the living unborn?

Rev Dr Robert Anderson, Dundonald.

Woman's choice is entirely hers

JOSEPH Walsh (Letters, March 22), being alerted to the use of “spurious” arguments while studying philosophy, then proceeds to argue one of his own. He makes an equivalence between representative groups lobbying and campaigning “where their stance is most effective and most relevant” and pro-life campaigners hanging around outside hospitals where women are attending for a medical procedure. These are not remotely equivalent situations.

A woman’s choice to have an abortion is entirely hers to make, and those who disagree based on their own moral values have no right to try to influence that choice.

I am very pleased that the Scottish Government has taken steps to outlaw this behaviour and make a stand against these largely American-funded evangelical Christians (but not in my book).

Bill Stewart, Glasgow.

• THERE is very little to add to Rosemary Goring’s excoriating article on the sleekit role played by those who pray outside abortion clinics, other than to say if you have not yet read it please do so. If you have already done that, please read it again and reflect on the utterly absurd role still given to organised religion in running the affairs of this country.

How much longer will it be before our elected representatives discover that each of them has a vertebral column and possess the means to bring this pathetic and malign charade to an end?

Bob Scott, Drymen.

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Holyrood voting system a lottery

DAVID Crawford (Letters, March, 25) asks: "If D’Hondt is good for Scotland then surely it’s good for the UK?". I agree with his comparative analysis of our UK and Scottish electoral systems, the latter being far more representative. I'd settle for it any day in preference to the discredited first past the post. However, the Holyrood system is far from perfect.

Recently I received a communication from one of my regional MSPs. I was unfamiliar with the name or the party she represented, as it was not mentioned anywhere in the leaflet. Was this an oversight or was she too embarrassed to declare it, perhaps? Her reported activities extended from Ayr to Lamberton and several places in between. I have no reason to doubt her intentions or diligence, but I feel no connection to her or her six other South of Scotland colleagues. I didn’t vote for any of them specifically as they were all on a party list, subject to the lottery of the d'Hondt system.

For this reason, regional MSPs are often accused, unjustifiably, of being unelected. For example, last week (March 21) you published a letter from Ray Brown in which he referred to "Green unelected MSPs". Of course, unlike our UK Foreign Secretary, Green and all regional MSPs are elected, but many see them as inferior, second class or simply there to make up the numbers.

We have yet another system of PR to elect local councillors; the single transferable vote produces proportional representation with a direct link to each ward. Other systems are available and it is debatable which is best. But, if you're interested in real democracy, first past the post should be scrapped.

David Bruce, Troon.

Sarwar and a lack of sincerity

ANAS Sarwar’s lack of genuine principles and the reasons why I believe he should not be trusted are demonstrated by his unwillingness to openly back his own “Scottish Labour” policies when public criticism of these policies arises in the mainstream media.

The Gender Recognition Reform Bill and the Hate Crime Bill were emphatically supported by Labour MSPs but where have been the voices of Mr Sarwar and other Scottish Labour MSPs when these policies have come under attack? When Humza Yousaf’s comments about getting rid of Tory MPs in Scotland were criticised in the most recent episode of BBC Scotland's Debate Night, Mr Sarwar, who previously had made similar comments himself, simply diverted to repeating his pre-prepared anti-SNP sermon.

As Mr Sarwar is seemingly devoid of true sincerity, anything he says should not be believed. This is especially the case when he repeats the historically oft-repeated Labour Party con of indicating how things will be improved under Labour without providing serious explanations as to where the necessary money is going to come from or any realistic timescales.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry.

The Herald: Anas SarwarAnas Sarwar (Image: PA)

Why we voted for Thatcher

PETER Dryburgh (Letters, March 25) doesn’t remember much about the 1980s.

James Callaghan’s government caused inflation of 20% and tried to restrict the workers’ wages. That’s why the working class elected Margaret Thatcher in 1979. She stopped high inflation quickly.

The NHS and the Welfare State were still there when she retired and were still there when she died.

The political left certainly can’t forgive or forget her. She ended their dictatorial power over the people. That’s why they’re still seething 35 years later.

There must certainly remain a vast network of six-figure salaries on public money for the seeking, but some hard-left politicians are bitter for life that they fell off the gravy train in the 1980s.

There was a Labour government for more than 10 years from 1997. It could have changed government policy in any way it chose. Unfortunately it abolished free university education, student grants and some benefits for single mothers all within weeks of taking office.

Scotland’s first-ever First Minister said in interview none of that mattered because the public stopped talking about it fairly soon. No hint of thinking in terms of right and wrong.

Tim Cox, Bern, Switzerland.

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Time for Kirk to step up

IN the April edition of Life and Work (the Church of Scotland's monthly magazine), the letters pages comprise varying submissions and views as to plans of survival for churches throughout Scotland. There are innovative ideas as to new community churches, more laity involvement and provision and/or support for local social needs. All very commendable. Alas, only one lone voice highlights "the church's lack of any real public expression of outrage at the continuing suffering of the civilian population of Gaza".

Before further procrastinations by presbyteries on church cluster groups, membership surveys etc, surely our national church should act and be in the vanguard articulating compassion, aid and monetary assistance for two million-plus beleaguered souls in Gaza. That would be Christianity at work.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.