Following the horrific death of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who was denied an abortion at 17 weeks to save her life, Ireland has reportedly “pledged” to clarify their abortion laws. But don’t get too excited over what the UN has already deemed a human right, as Ireland isn’t looking to legalize the procedure for all. The Irish government simply wants to close that rather gaping loophole that says a doctor can decide — based on his or her own interpretation of the law — if ladies can have a life-saving abortion.
Reuters reports that Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told parliament that he was “deeply disturbed” by statements from Halappanavar’s husband following her death:
“I don’t think as a country we should allow a situation where women’s rights are put at risk in this way…There is no question of equivocation. We need to bring legal clarity to this issue and that is what we are going to do,” he said.
Halappanavar’s death isn’t the first time that the Irish government has been challenged on this exact same premise. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland had to get its act together and clarify their position. But following some recommendations from experts, Reuters reports that the government has been “dragging its heels to avoid confronting the issue.”
Halappanavar’s status as a foreign national has also caused the Irish government “embarrassment,” according to Reuters, as her death has appeared on the front page of several large Indian newspapers. Even the Indian government has expressed their condolences:
“The death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern,” a spokesman said.
But anywhere a woman is denied her own life for the sake of her fetus — against her own will — very well should be.