Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Irish abortion debate

This is the late Savita Halappanavar who died in a Galway hospital on 28th October from septicaemia after asking several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she was suffering from severe back pain and was miscarrying the child.

Her husband has said that there is no doubt in his mind that she would be alive today if she had been allowed to have an abortion.

Praveen Halappanavar said staff at University Hospital Galway told them Ireland was "a Catholic country" and refused to carry out a termination because they could still detect a foetal heartbeat.

The baby died anyway.

Savita's death has added fuel to the already heated debate in the Irish Republic about changes to the law to allow abortion to take place where there is a risk to the life of the mother.

The group Precious Life, which campaigns against abortion, said its thoughts and prayers were with Ms Halappanavar's family, adding "Ireland's laws protecting unborn babies do not pose a threat to women's lives, according to the obstetricians and gynaecologists who care for women every day." Clearly this is a group which does not allow facts to get in the way of its conclusions.

This coming week, several churches and religious bodies will make representations to the Irish government before they decide on exactly how the law should be framed.

This is not a case of a woman using a termination as a form of birth control, although many women in Ireland already cross the border into Ulster to do just that.

This is a case where Catholic religious dogma caused a woman who does not even share that faith to die needlessly. Whatever your religion, that cannot possibly be right and should not be allowed to happen again.

Let's hope that her unfortunate death helps bring about a change in the law that will prevent any further similar instances and at least that way she won't have died in vain...


  1. I have to correct a minor mistake here. Women in the Republic of Ireland cannot cross into Northern Ireland if they wish to have an abortion, as it's also illegal there. The Abortion Act 1967 only applies to Great Britain. This means that any women who want an abortion on either side of the Irish border will have to travel to mainland UK to do so, and they'll be liable for all expenses. Even women in Northern Ireland who wish to have an abortion in Great Britain are not eligible for NHS treatment.

  2. Thanks GR. I do actually know someone who had an abortion in NI but it was done privately and I don't know the circumstances.

    Shame you don't blog anymore as I used to enjoy reading you...

  3. The Catholic faith does allow abortion when the mother's life is at risk, i.e. the mother's life takes priority over the life in the womb. In this case it was the error of the medical team in not taking the mother's life seriously.
    This error is just being used for lobbying purposes instead of pointing our that the baby's life could and should have been terminated in order to save the mother's life.


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