Keeping it consistent when it comes to abortion

 

Have you heard about this case in Ireland where a woman  was denied an abortion and died as a result?

Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old dentist, was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child. She began having severe back pain and was told that she was miscarrying. She then requested that her doctors medically terminate the pregnancy, but was denied because abortion is against the law in Ireland. She died of blood poisoning a couple of days later.

There has been worldwide media attention on the case, since it’s a situation where an abortion actually would have saved the life of the mother.

Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled  that it should be legal when a woman’s life is at risk.The government never passed a law to this effect, which means that Irish physicians are very reluctant to perform abortions, regardless of the circumstances.

In 2010, three women sued the Irish government in the European Court of Human Rights for denying them access abortions. The women each had extenuating circumstances: an alcoholic with four children, two of which were disabled; a woman undergoing chemotherapy, and a woman who had taken emergency contraception that had failed to work. The court found they had no right to abortions under the constitution, and their complaints were dismissed. However, the court also found that Ireland’s ban on abortion even in the case of life-threatening pregnancies was in violation of European Union law.

Halappanavar’s death coincided with the release of a  long-awaited expert report that recommends  possible changes to Irish abortion law. The report was commissioned by the Irish government   after the 2010 European Court of Human Rights ruling.

Currently, about 4,200 women travel outside of Ireland every year to terminate pregnancies.

I’m as pro-choice as they come, but you’ve got to give it to the Irish. They are so adamantly against abortion that they sought a travel injunction against a 14 year old who was raped by a neighbor and whose parents were trying to get her to England to have an abortion.

They refuse abortion in all cases. No matter what. No exceptions for rape, no exceptions for life-threatening conditions, no exceptions for the threat of fetal-alcohol syndrome, or neglect, or deformity caused by chemotherapy.

It ain’t pretty, but if you are against abortion, then own it.

They acknowledge that sometime women die when they don’t have access to safe, legal abortion. They have no problem with the fact that outlawing abortion means that  women and girls are forced to carry pregnancies to term and then parent children that are the product of rape when they are denied access to safe and legal abortion.

That’s the reality, and at least the Irish government is willing to take the fall out.

What do you think?

 

Irihs Times op-ed

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