Tag archives: Ireland

Abortion and Religion in Ireland

by Family Research Council

November 27, 2012

Recently, Savita Halapannavaran, an Indian woman residing in Ireland, suffered a miscarriage and died in a public hospital. Her parents claimed that the hospitals refusal to give her an abortion (while her baby still had a heartbeat) lead to her death, even though Halappanavars autopsy has revealed that she died of blood poisoning and E. coli ESBL, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium.

Accusations continued to fly and the womans husband said the fault lay with Ireland being a Catholic country. Likewise, news outlets and blogs rushed to report that religion was to blame for the womans death. The womans father has appealed directly to the Irish Prime Minister to change the countrys legislation on abortion. But should this really be viewed as an issue of Irish legality? A 1992 ruling by the Irish Supreme Court said that abortion was legal when a womans life was at stake. Whats going on here?

The National Catholic Register reports:

Instead of jumping to the conclusions that Halappanavar needed an abortion and that Ireland needs to legalize the killing of the youngest of its kind, the reasonable approach would be to get to the bottom of what Halappanavars condition was and examine how it was or was not responded to, Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, wrote Nov. 20.

E. coli ESBL [official cause of the mothers death] has recently spread throughout theU.K., causing urinary-tract infections that can develop into blood poisoning. The presence of E. coli ESBL is particularly problematic if Halappanavar was given antibiotics to fight an infection that was resistant to those very antibiotics, Gray said.

As happens so often, all the facts surrounding this case may not be public, or fully known, but the hospital and the governments Health Service Executive are investigating.

And Gray continues:

We have yet to hear from the hospital and the medical professionals involved as to what precisely happened, but with this report of her dying from E. coli ESBL, one wonders how killing Halappanavars baby, Prasa, would have killed the E. coli.

This is an undeniably tragic situation, but also very complicated. We must ask the question whywith the science of this mothers condition uncertainwas religion the first thing to be blamed?

ABC v. Ireland

by Family Research Council

December 15, 2010

Tomorrow, the Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights will issue its opinion on a pivotal abortion case, ABC v. Ireland. The case has been dubbed the Roe v. Wade of Europe, and will have significant bearing on abortion law internationally. The plaintiffs are three Irish women who claim that Irelands abortion law the procedure is illegal unless the mothers life is at risk placed their well being and health in jeopardy in short because they had to travel abroad to abort their babies.

In the words of one person involved in the case, ABC v. Ireland should be an open and shut win for the Irish government. One would think that the Court would not even entertain oral arguments in the ABC case, because it has to do with a sovereign states constitutional provisions on a subject on which it is permitted to do as it wishes under legal precedent from the European Court of Human Rights. Serious questions also exist regarding basic applicability/appropriateness given the fact that the plaintiffs sought no form of domestic remedy prior to bringing this case to the European Court of Human Rights.

In November, 2008, FRC joined with the Alliance Defense Fund and other pro-life, pro-family groups to provide written observations to the court. Below are short excerpts from this document and here is the link for the full statement:

The Court Must Scrutinise Domestic Remedies

2. Article 35 of the Convention requires an applicant to exhaust domestic

remedies, and Article 13 entitles applicants to a basic procedure for trying to

protect their rights. Irish law and practice establishes not only the existence of

remedies sufficient to satisfy Article 13, but a high burden of exhaustion.

3. Under Article 35(1) therefore, the Court must decide whether the

Applicant, under the collective circumstances of the case, did everything they

could reasonably be expected to do to exhaust domestic remedies.1

Member States Have Sovereignty to Protect the Right to Life

7. Irelands sovereign right to determine when life begins and to determine

the appropriate protections therein is based on the paramount importance of the

right to life affirmed in Article 2, which outweighs other Convention rights. This

Court recognised that other rights, such as the right to privacy and bodily integrity

within the context of pregnancy, are not absolute and must be analysed in

conjunction with the rights of the unborn to life and the rights of States to

determine their own definition of when life begins and how to protect unborn

children as a result.6

11. The principle of respect for national sovereignty, and not the erosion

thereof, forms the basis for Convention rights themselves, because those rights

stemmed from the treaty obligations undertaken by the High Contracting parties.

For any organ of the Council of Europe to hold that Irelands laws protecting life

must be liberalised would create a new Convention right to which Ireland never

acceded, and would place obligations on Ireland to which it never became party.