If one has the right to give birth to a child, doesn’t she have the right to abort her child by her own choice?
Well, some countries in this world don’t allow you to do so just because their religion doesn’t gives them the permission. One of such nations is Ireland. Ireland, an island to the north-west of continental Europe, is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth. And with a population of 6.4 million people, abortion is illegal. Just because it is a catholic country, abortion cannot be carried out even if it is unhealthy for the mother to continue with her pregnancy. Even in countries like the USA, UK, abortion is allowed if it threatens the life of the mother, but the callous Irish laws show no sympathy to an ailing mother’s cries, not unless the foetus is dead.
The recent Savita Halappanavar case brought this issue to the forefront. Savita was a 31 year old dentist who was admitted to a hospital in Galway, Ireland due to miscarriage. She was 17 weeks pregnant. The doctors had diagnosed her sensitive condition well in time but refused to operate on her to terminate her pregnancy because it was banned as per Roman Catholic laws. Consequentially, Savita died due to septicaemia (septicemia occurs when an infection in the bloodstream causes the body’s immune system to break down). So did the foetus. So who gained from this? The Irish government or the Catholic Church and how?
The aim of doctors is to save lives and not leave a victim at the hands of religious laws. But, Ireland’s government has always resisted defining the circumstances under which abortion is legal. In a case in 1992, a 14 year old rape victim was restricted by the government to travel to Britain for an abortion. The girl had suicidal tendency and so the Irish Supreme Court permitted the abortion whenever the mother’s life is at risk. However, no legal provision has been drafted in context till date and hence Ireland still follows archaic abortion laws. In fact, at one point of time, divorce and use of contraceptives was also not allowed in Ireland
Such religious laws that lead to loss of life are simply inhumane. It’s not even about women rights. It’s plain common sense! One tends to save even a dying bird or pigeon too by whatever means. I don’t think any religion preaches practicing codes and ethics that can endanger one’s life. In a world, where medical technology has advanced to an extent that almost all ailments can be cured and prevented, allowing a victim to die when there are alternatives to save life is disgusting.
Ireland is rated number 7 on the basis of human development index (HDI) and is amongst the most “developed” countries in the world. However, if this is the value of human life in that country, I’m glad that I’m born in a “developing” country like India.
This incident made it important for us to have a look at the abortion laws in other places around the world. Youth Ki Awaaz writers have assessed the condition in many different countries in the following articles:
Abortion Laws In South Africa: Ideal For Women #Abortion Laws (Part 1)
Stringent Abortion Laws- Bangladesh Experience No Exception #Abortion Laws (Part 2)
Abortion Law In Japan: Fact And Lessons #Abortion Laws (Part 3)
Assessing Brazil — Where Abortion Laws Have Sabotaged More Lives Than They Have Saved #Abortion Laws (Part 4)
Pro-Whose-Life? A Take On Abortion Laws In Chile #Abortion Laws (Part 5)