With as little comment and ado as possible…
– Alex Massie notes the irreducible paradox of how the law as it stands was caught out by circumstance:
Clearly, doctors did not think Mrs Halapannavar’s life was in danger. Equally likely: this delay helped kill her.
– In the Irish Times, James McDermott notes:
It is far better for the Oireachtas to debate legislation in a calm and coherent manner rather than for courts to have to develop the law on a piecemeal basis in response to ad hoc emergencies and where understandable sympathy for the individual before the court may colour the debate on the issues. Under the separation of powers, it is the job of the Oireachtas to enact laws and of judges to interpret them. [Emphasis added]
– And the London Independent does a comparative trawl across the world:
…the law in Ireland is more stringent than that of Saudi Arabia – which allows abortion where the mother’s health is at risk, as long as there is permission from her spouse. Many African countries have similar laws to those in place in Ireland. Nigeria, for example, also allows abortion when it is necessary to save the mother’s life, as does Uganda.
Emer O’Toole in the Guardian writes:
In 1992 the supreme court ruled that a suicidal teenage rape victim had the right to an abortion. In the referendum that followed, Irish people voted to uphold this judgment. Yet, 20 years later, no government has been brave enough to legislate. In 2010 the European court of human rights ruled against the Irish state in favour of a woman who had to travel to the UK to terminate a pregnancy while undergoing chemotherapy.
The Examiner provides some clarity on the position under the current law, and the alleged invocation of Catholic teaching:
Such crass insensitivity is a perversion of the Catholic position. Under Irish law, if the purpose of an operation is to kill the baby it is wrong, but if the aim is to save the mother’s life it is permitted both by the Catholic Church and the Irish Constitution.
David Quinn in the Indo:
…it is necessary to remind ourselves that sometimes women die because of botched abortions in legal settings. Indeed, last year a doctor – Phanuel Dartey – was struck off in Britain because he nearly killed an Irish woman while performing an abortion on her in a Marie Stopes Clinic in the UK.
This story received remarkably little publicity here in Ireland. RTE did not cover it at all, whereas it has given the Savita Halappanavar story wall-to-wall coverage. Why this discrepancy?
Hazel Nolan on the Irish Times Generation Emigration blog:
These TDs remain in defiance of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the X case, the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case; and the two referendums where the Irish people have upheld the right to an abortion where pregnancy poses a risk to a woman’s life, including the risk of suicide.
Phillipa Willetts guesting on the F Word Blog
Being forced to carry a dying foetus inside her until its heart stopped beating weakened and poisoned her body. She died in pain, in distress, in the knowledge that her life could have been saved.
Understandably, we are angry.
And this from the Daily Mail is well worth reading to the bottom…
For a more comprehensive listing, try Una Mullally’s epic list at the Irish Times..
No digitallunch tomorrow, I’m away at a conference in Tunisia. But I’m hoping to pull together a sane debate on how the Oireachtas might meet the challenge of an Irish public opinion that’s been energised and focused by the #Savita case.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty