Blog: Irish anti-abortion bigotry leads to the death of Savita Halappanavar
Abortion to save the life of the mother is the only clear-cut case in the justification of abortion, which decision doctors always take when delivering a baby. Why did the Catholic Irish authorities let Savita Halappanavar die by refusing her right to abortion when her unborn baby clearly posed a great risk to her life?
When Mauritius passed laws to allow abortion in specific cases, Archbishop Maurice Piat of the Catholic Church made a powerful case against the laws on the ground of sanctity of life as preached in Catholicism. But when the laws were finally passed, he said he respected the « democratic process » instead of campaigning for the laws to be changed in line with Catholic beliefs. Does this mean that Archbishop Piat respects the democratic process of the Republic of Ireland or does he see it as a form of Catholic bigotry?
It goes without saying that not everything can be decided by the so-called democratic process. Whatever Irish democracy says, it was the inalienable right of Savita to have her unborn baby aborted to save her own life. In 1992, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that « a woman has a right to an abortion when there is a substantial risk to her life », and doctors admitted that « terminations are carried out in some situations » (The Independent, 17 November 2012).
Democracy is very often used as a weapon to justify the denial of people’s rights, to justify deaths and atrocities, such as the democratic genocide of Palestinians by European occupiers. French laïcité is also used to similar ends, although not against abortion. Irish doctors have previously admitted to the Irish court that they do carry out abortions in some cases. But why did they decide against saving the life of Savita? Is it because she is Indian? What would have happened if a European woman had suffered the same fate in India or Mauritius or in an Islamic country, although Islam does allow abortion to save the mother? The BBC and TF1 would certainly not be so quiet about it. It would have been in the news every hour for a long time, and all sorts of programmes would have been dedicated to such bigotry and barbarism. European Prime Ministers and Presidents would have intervened and condemned the ‘killing’ of the mother when her life could have been easily been saved.