“The first thing I feel I should emphasise is the sheer numbers of people who turned out.”
Guest post by Orlagh Ni Léid, Alliance for Choice, Belfast
This is an article from Women’s Views on News, detailing the pro choice march which took place in Dublin at the end of last week. As it describes, the protest was not only an outcry against Ireland’s abortion laws, but also a commemoration of the death of a woman whose life ended during a miscarriage, after she allegedly begged for an abortion and was denied one on the grounds that Ireland ‘was a Catholic country’. A full investigation will be carried out, the details of which can be found here.
While the details of Savita Halappanavar’s unfortunate passing remain unconfirmed, if the story is proven to be true, it seems hard to believe that it will not result in at least modification of the Irish abortion laws. This case is both high profile and horrific; surely this demonstration of the tragic consequences of anti-abortion laws will prove to the Irish government that there is no strong argument against change. It is vital. A situation where women are dying, potentially due to the fact that government is withholding the power they should have over their own body, cannot feasibly be allowed to remain as it is. It puts women at risk, it robs children of their mothers, spouses of their beloved wives, parents of their daughters. The affect can be so widespread, and it could be prevented.
While as previously stated, it has yet to be confirmed whether Ms Halappanavar did request an abortion, and if so, if the lack of termination resulted in her death, even if it was not the cause, it is obvious that a lack of choice for women causes problems. In any other medical crisis, the patient is allowed some kind of input into their treatment plan and more often than not, patients are the ones granting permission to surgeons, anxious to try a new method, because this one might just reduce the risk, might be the one that saves their patient’s life. The patient has control over what happens to their body. Yet women are denied an abortion based on moral grounds, and forced to beg for surgery which could help save their lives; in this case, because doctors refused to sacrifice an already confirmed miscarriage? There is no just cause for a woman to have any less control over her body and over the child she is carrying than another patient, in another situation, who is equally as threatened as the powerless mother but who has the opportunity to save themselves. Savita did not have the comfort of a last hope. No matter what the outcome of the investigation the fact remains that for her, the doctors were not willing to try every method possible. In her case, she was left to die.