The Irish government will soon allow abortion in certain cases where the mother's life is at risk. In other words: they don't want international outrage directed at them after another woman like Dr. Savita Halappanavar dies because doctors won't terminate her pregnancy — even if she's miscarrying and repeatedly asks for an abortion — because her fetus still has a heartbeat and therefore gets VIP access to life.
"...we will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman's life," Dr James Reilly, the Irish health minister, told The Telegraph. "We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child."
The Supreme Court ruled that abortion was OK when risk to a woman's life was present back in 1992, but the government never actually got around to passing a law to that effect. Now, thanks to Halappanavar's death, they're repealing legislation that makes abortion a criminal act and instituting regulations that, as Reilly said, dictate exactly when a mother's life might be in danger. The new law will comply with the Supreme Court decision and also a ruling in the European Court of Human Rights two years ago — a ruling that the government also never got around to implementing, it seems?
Of note: feeling suicidal counts as a risk to the mother's life, probably because the Supreme Court decision 20 years ago overturned an injunction that prevented a 14-year-old girl, who had been raped and wanted to kill herself because she couldn't get a legal abortion, from traveling to Britain to do just that. Her case never actually led to legal reform, which made everyone pretty confused, according to The Telegraph. (Phew, glad I'm not the only one who doesn't understand how the Irish legal system works. Apparently the Irish don't, either?)
As expected, the country's Catholic contingent is horrified that the country will finally legalize some abortions, even though it was supposed to do that forever ago. In a statement, Catholic primate Cardinal Sean Brady and the archbishops of Dublin, Cashel and Tuam said: "The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I choose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I choose to license the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?"
Or they could've just said: "some politicians support (limited!) reproductive choice, and some don't seem to care that we could easily have another Halappanavar situation on our hands if we don't make some changes around here, to put it lightly." But that wouldn't have sounded so dramatic and archbishop-like.
Leo O'Reilly, the bishop of Kilmore, said the legislation was the first step on the way "to a culture of death." As opposed to, like, a mother's actual death? This sounds like Eddie Izzard's "Cake or Death" sketch. I'll take "culture of death" over "actual death," please! "For the very first time in Ireland it would inevitably lead to the most liberal kind of abortion," he added. I didn't realize these abortions were going to be so liberal. Will they be running around naked, smoking weed and organizing labor protests? Let's be real. The Irish government is throwing women a teeny bone here by offering them a very conservative kind of abortion, actually. The kind of abortion you can only obtain if dying is the alternative.
Some politicians aren't too pleased, either; a number of representatives from Ireland's ruling Fine Gael party are particularly worried about the "threat of suicide" caveat. Today, according to the Telegraph, The Irish Times warned that the reforms "could challenge Ireland's fragile ruling coalition between Fine Gael and the pro-abortion Labour Party." Revolution is nigh!
OR, how about we just let women decide when they want to get pregnant? JESUS.