Millennium Post

Ireland sets example with abortion law

The irish government has sought to decriminalise abortion when the mother is in danger of losing her life. This decision has come within weeks of a huge public outcry that was caused by the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar.

Savita was 17 weeks pregnant when despite repeated requests and knowing that she was heading for a miscarriage, Irish doctors refused to operate on her on grounds that foetal heartbeat could still be heard and in a Catholic country, it was totally illegal to perform abortion on a patient as long as the foetus was alive. Ireland has one of the strongest rules against abortion in the world and as was proved in the case of Savita, the doctors would let a patient die and not go against the norm and law of the country. In fact previous attempts to make the anti-abortion laws more humane fell on rough weather because of severe protests from the country’s conservative Catholic factions.

When Savita was finally operated upon and the dead foetus was removed, she had already contracted septcimia. She died a week later in front of her husband and in spite of the repeated request from him and the family to operate on her foetus. Her case brought back into focus the essential inhumanity of the law and the fact that in spite of having top class medical facility on hand, doctors cannot do enough to save a regular patient since the country’s laws prevent them from doing so.    

The case caused a public outcry and the Irish clergy and the government went on the defensive about the laws that make operation on even terminally ill or dead foetus such a huge problem. This has led the Irish government to wake up and go ahead with legislations what would change the laws in case of patients  who face threats to their life due to complicated pregnancy and must be operated upon. Thankfully, medical reason  has presided over religious ethics and orthodoxy.

The decision by the Irish government to allow abortion in case the mother is at risk is extremely welcome.  Other countries too should show the sensitivity to enforce laws that will aid the security and wellbeing  of the people, whether it is changing USA’s controversial gun law or awarding capital punishment to rapists in India.
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