David Quinn, in the Irish Independent. On the Independent's site here.
IN the debate about abortion we are constantly dealing with what can only be described as 'asymmetrical hysteria', that is we are only ever outraged by anti-abortion laws and their consequences and never by the consequences of pro-abortion laws.
The result of this 'asymmetrical hysteria' is that public opinion is constantly being pushed to favour more liberal abortion laws rather than more restrictive ones.
Indeed, we are conditioned to believe that laws against abortion are the result of irrational dogmas that are placing women's lives at risk.
Thus we now think that if only we were more like our more 'rational' next-door neighbour, Britain, Savita Halappanavar would be alive today.
In fact, it is impossible to know that, and certainly not before the completion of the investigation into her death.
In the meantime, what we do know is that the Irish maternal death rate is one of the very lowest in the world at roughly three women per 100,000. The British figure is four times higher at 12 per 100,000 and the US figure is eight times higher at 24 per 100,000.
How is it that Ireland without abortion is so much safer for pregnant women than Britain and America, which both have highly liberal abortion laws?
The above data has been obtained from 'Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008', which has been developed by the World Health Organisation, the UN and the World Bank.
However, thanks to the highly tendentious coverage of the tragic case of Mrs Halappanavar, particularly by RTE, most Irish people probably believe that Ireland is a particularly dangerous place for women to have a baby.
This notion, now commonplace and gaining worldwide traction, is actually a gross calumny against our country.
Our politicians ought to defend the medical record of this country and point out that our maternal healthcare system is superb at bringing babies to full term without compromising the lives or health of their mothers.
We would also do well to point out how the dogmas behind the abortion laws of other countries cost lives.
For example, in Britain, how many babies are unnecessarily aborted because a doctor erroneously imagines that the only way to save the mother is to abort the baby?
What kind of dogma makes some of us think that 190,000 abortions in England and Wales each year is 'normal', meaning that one pregnancy in every four ends in a termination?
What dogma leads abortion clinics to think 'gendercide' is okay, namely the killing of an unborn child simply because it is the 'wrong' sex, usually a girl?
The 'Daily Telegraph' discovered in a sting operation earlier this year that sex-selective abortions take place in UK abortion clinics.
What kind of dogma thinks it is okay to abort a child simply because the child has Down's Syndrome or cystic fibrosis?
In Ireland, a service is now on offer which allows couples to have their embryos screened to ensure they are in no way 'defective'. This is eugenics and it is common practice today.
None of the scandals just listed ever causes anything like the outrage generated by the hard cases an anti-abortion law will cause from time to time.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that they do not attract anything like the same publicity and so most of us are completely unaware of them.
The second reason is a dogmatic attachment to the ideology of 'choice', which causes many of us to simply turn a blind eye to the innumerable scandals caused by abortion laws.
We must not allow ourselves to be conditioned by ceaseless one-sided propaganda into thinking our law on abortion is inhumane and unjust.
The truth is that our law with respect both to mother and child is far more humane than in other Western countries, including Britain, and we should be very proud of that.