Dublin: Marching for Savita

“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.  


Members of Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, found guilty of hooliganism

I don’t think I could call this a human rights blog if I didn’t post something about this terrible injustice. Pussy Riot are an inspiration, to say the very least.  I can’t imagine the kind of courage it must take to stage such an explosive event – one which would inevitably hold the risk of severe consequences.  This group of feminists are role models for every young person out there, because they refuse to sit back and do nothing, they fight for their cause, they stand up to what can only be called an evil dictator for crying out loud, and will go to jail for it.  Not only is the fact that three Pussy Riot members have been sentenced to 2 years in jail an injustice, so is calling their actions hooliganism.  Hooligans wreak havoc, they destruct.  They don’t fight for good, they don’t inspire and they sure as hell don’t risk their lives. Their bravery is commendable, inspirational, and the injustice with which they have been served should stand as a warning to younger generations, yet another indication of the terrible effect power can have, and what we must ward away from. We must take heed, before we simply repeat the mistakes of the past.