Savita Halapanavar died on Sunday 28 October 2012, seven days after her admission to University Hospital Galway (UHG), where she was treated on St Monica’s Ward, a gynaecology ward within the Women’s and Children’s Directorate of the Hospital. She was a 31-year-old woman who was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child. Her tragic case has been held up ever since as incontrovertible ‘proof’ that the Eighth Amendment is a crude barrier to the delivery of effective medical care and that it actively endangers the treatment of women who have received a diagnosis of maternal sepsis in pregnancy.
The inquiry has been held, and the Irish Times’ infamous ‘first Irish abortion’ story has been shown to be totally and utterly false. Journalist Paul Cullen and his employers at the national broadsheet have disgraced themselves, once again, by their decision to splash a piece of pro-abortion propaganda across the front pages in a cynical attempt to exalt Fine Gael’s abortion legislation – only for that propaganda to be exposed as a lame piece of fiction in less than 24 hours.
On St Stephen’s day the Irish High Court ruled that life-support could be withdrawn from a pregnant woman who had suffered a significant brain trauma and who been pronounced clinically dead three weeks earlier. The case had appeared before the court because doctors were concerned as to how the law should direct them in regard to the life of the unborn baby, who was at approximately 15 weeks gestation when the woman had died. Her family had requested that the life support be withdrawn, because, they told the Court, they believed the chances of the unborn child surviving were minimal.
One of the most common accusations levelled against abortion restriction is the claim that if abortion is prohibited, a market for illegal unsafe “back alley” abortions will inevitably emerge. Therefore, abortion proponents argue, if women are going to get abortions anyway, it is better that they do so legally. While this argument has numerous flaws, one critical point has recently been upset by new research emerging from Chile which demonstrates that the number of illegal abortions actually fell when abortion was banned.