I don’t know all the detail of what happened in the Savita Halappanavar case, and I’d be fairly certain neither do you. What we do know is that this young woman was 17 weeks pregnant, that she died of septic shock in the course of a miscarriage, and that doctors stated they could not abort her pregnancy due to the current Irish laws. We also know that her husband said that doctors told her she couldn’t have an abortion because ‘this is a Catholic country’ and that her death prompted demonstrations by hundreds of people carrying placards saying ‘Ireland’s shame’ and ‘Our shame’.
To say this is an emotive case is to understate it. The grief which the woman’s husband must be feeling is unimaginable, and it’s hard, even though we’ve never met the man, not to share in some way in that grief. The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has declared the law must be clarified.
My response to the last item is that Eamon Gilmore should try to refrain from stating the obvious. Laws should be passed and/or clarified by people with cool heads, not those in a state of emotional agitation such as many are presently experiencing. As for ‘Ireland’s shame’ and ‘Our shame’, include me out. None of us on the northern side of the border have any control over the state of the laws - and their consequences - south of the border.
A couple of other things. If you don’t believe Savita Halappanavar was carrying a human being, you should be calling for the doctors involved to be struck off the register and jailed. If you believe Savita Halappanavar was carrying a human being, you must be wondering what Irish law says that when the mother’s life is at risk, an abortion must not be performed.
The squalid temptation at present is for those who favour abortion on request to use the emotion generated by this desperate tragedy as a soapbox from which to further their cause. The facts of the case should be clearly established and the law clarified in a calm, detached manner. That done, the people of the twenty-six counties - better still, of all 32 counties - should be given a chance, by referendum, to decide whether they wish abortion on demand/request to be made available. Those who believe the foetus isn’t human will certainly vote for such availability. Those who believe the foetus is human will certainly vote against it. All the rest is useless hysteria.