Ireland’s abortion law under fire
Savita’s death triggered protests outside the Irish Parliament. AFP photoIreland’s tough abortion laws came under fire on Nov. 14, following the death of an Indian woman after doctors allegedly refused her a termination because it was against the laws of the Catholic country.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the death of Savita Halappanavar, who was admitted to a hospital when she was 17 weeks pregnant, as a “tragedy” and said investigations were underway, Agence France-Presse reported. She said he would not pre-judge the inquiries, but said, “It is very important and imperative that the standards that apply in our maternity units be kept at the very highest level of professionalism and competence.” Savita, a 31-year-old dentist, repeatedly asked staff at University Hospital Galway to terminate her pregnancy because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying, her family said. But they replied she could not have an abortion because Ireland was a Catholic country and the fetus was still alive, her husband Praveen said.
Ireland’s abortion laws have been the subject of debate for years. Ireland’s Constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found the procedure should be legalized for cases when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening cases, according to The Associated Press.