Michael Clifford (News, 9 January) thinks the abortion debate has been hijacked by "Catholic fundamentalists". I don't know what debate he's been listening to, but for those of us who've been following mainstream media coverage of the issue over the past month or so, if any "hijacking" of debate took place, it was by the advocates of abortion and not those seeking to protect both mothers and babies during pregnancy.

In his article, Clifford opted for the time-honoured tactic of setting up a caricature of those with whom he disagrees. Instead of dealing with the legitimate points raised by opponents of abortion, he refers to them as 'zealots' 12 times!

Whether Clifford chooses to accept it or not, abortion is the destruction of a new human life. Everyone who ever studied elementary biology or viewed an ultrasound scan knows that's a fact.

Studies in reputable periodicals like the British Journal of Psychiatry also show the negative effects of abortion for a significant number of women.

Clifford repeats the canard that abortion is necessary to protect women's health. He conveniently chooses to ignore the evidence that Ireland, without abortion, is the safest country in the world for pregnant women, as evidenced by the latest Report on Maternal Mortality from the World Health Organisation. In fact, Ireland is a much safer country for pregnant women than countries like Britain and Holland, which have the kind of liberal abortion regimes advocated in last week's article.

Clifford bases his claims that abortion is necessary in Ireland on the X-case decision, which heard no medical evidence, and the recent European Court of Human Rights decision, which also incredibly heard zero medical evidence.

As a country, we are presented with a choice. Either we do our best to ensure there is clarity in the law to safeguard both mothers and babies during pregnancy or we legislate to allow abortion in this country, where the rights of the unborn are completely ignored.

In Britain, abortion is legal up to birth. The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health, commissioned by the British government, revealed that in 2008, 66 babies in Britain survived the abortion procedure and were able to breathe unaided but were left to die. This is the reality of legalised abortion.

Given the sensitive nature of the issue, it is easy for those on either side of the debate to seek to demonise their opponents rather than engage in reasoned debate. Those most personally affected by the issue deserve better.

Dr Ruth Cullen

Pro Life Campaign

Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2