Family of Indian victim welcomes landmark law on abortion rights in Ireland

Belgaum/New Delhi, July 13 (ANI): The family of Savita Halappanavar, the Indian woman who died due to pregnancy complications in Ireland due to the country's strict abortion laws, has welcomed a new initiative of the Irish Parliament to allow limited abortion rights for the first time.

Savita's father A S Yalgi, who shared his views with media in Belgaum, Karnataka, said: "I really welcome the move. And, it was our demand that at least for life saving purposes, the life saving Abortion Bill is very essential. This was our demand. I really thank them who have passed the bill."

Earlier the Ireland's parliament voted to allow abortion under certain conditions for the first time, following months of polarising debate in the Catholic-dominant country, including letters to the Prime Minister written in blood.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny has provoked protest from both sides of the debate by pushing through a compromise that will allow abortion, but only when a woman's life is in danger.

His governing party has faced down more rebels over the issue than it did over its harsh austerity measures.

Ireland was forced to review its abortion law in cases where the mother's life is at risk following the death of dentist Savita at a hospital in Galway last October after she was denied an abortion.

An inquiry into her death case earlier this year revealed that a timely abortion may have saved her life.

Talking about the new move by the Irish parliament, Reverend Father Dominic Emmanuel, a priest at a prominent Catholic Church in New Delhi stated that there is nothing new in the provision and an earlier such clause in Ireland already permits preventive abortion to save the mother's life.

"When the life of the mother is in danger due to pregnancy, then you can follow a medical procedure in which the child may be aborted or may be miscarried. But the focus is on not aborting the child but saving both the mother and child. But in case the child cannot be saved, then the procedure should focus on saving the mother. I think that is what right now; I have read is the provision in the new Bill (of Ireland). So I am not very clear as to what is new about it because even in the former guidelines of the Irish Medical Association, there was such a provision," said Father Dominic Emmanuel.

Abortion rights opponents were particularly upset by the bill's inclusion of the risk of suicide as a possible threat to the mother's life.

The two-decade debate over how Ireland should deal with a Supreme Court ruling that abortion be permitted when a woman's life is in danger was reopened last year after the death of a woman who was denied an abortion of her dying foetus.

The Irish Supreme Court ruling in 1992 resulted from a challenge by a 14-year-old rape victim to a constitutional amendment nine years earlier that aimed to ban abortion in all instances. (ANI)


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.