Abortion Law passed in Ireland
Ireland adopted the law to allow abortion under limited circumstances after President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill passed by Parliament.
How will the Abortion law of Ireland help women?
The law will allow women in the country to have an abortion in case of fatal foetal abnormality. The new law would permit abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. It would also extend to women who are deemed suicidal if refused abortion.
The law has been drafted after the widespread anger over the death of Savita Halappanavar, a young Indian dentist, in an Irish hospital after being refused abortion despite apparent risk to her life. Her husband claimed that the University College Hospital Galway where she was admitted denied her an abortion because a fetal heartbeat was present, despite the fetus being declared nonviable. This led to septicemia (blood poisoning), multiple organ failure and her death.
Why Savita Halappanavar was denied abortion at the right time when she needed it?
Under Irish law on abortion, and Offences against the Person Act 1861 abortion is illegal in Ireland. As a result Irish women have to travel to UK each year to undergo abortion. Abortion in the Republic of Ireland is illegal unless it occurs as the result of a medical intervention performed to save the life of the mother. However, the availability of abortion services can be even more restricted in the absence of a readily available method of determining the circumstances in which an abortion might be lawfully obtained. However, a judgment of the Irish Supreme Court in 1992, commonly known as the “X case”, permits abortions where the life of the mother is at risk, including from suicide. Abortion is a controversial issue in Irish politics and five national referendums have been held on the topic in the last 30 years.