Thoughts and concerns regarding Irish abortion laws
Live Action News has published an article reporting that the Irish “government will clarify through legislation that abortions are permissible only if a mother’s life, but not her health, is at stake.” Jordan Hooker, who wrote the article, also mentioned a quote from the minister of health, James Reilly, that “at all times” the government will take “full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.”
After the death of Savita Halappanavar, a young dentist who was miscarrying, abortion advocates from Ireland and all over the world turned this tragedy into a rallying cry for legalizing abortion. The journalist who spoke to Savita’s husband, Praveen, and who claimed that Halappanavar requested a termination but was denied because Ireland “is a Catholic country[,]” has now said that there may have been no such request at all.
Abortion advocates made this tragedy about abortion even before final reports came in regarding the young woman’s death. Thus, if the clarification of Ireland’s abortion laws is based on such a case, these laws are being based on a death that is tragic regardless, but which also would not have been prevented by an abortion.
As to James Reilly’s statements, Ireland already protects the lives of both the mother and the unborn child equally; that’s why abortion is illegal there. That is not to say that doctors will not perform life-saving treatments to save the mother, even if they put the unborn child at risk. Such treatment is not an abortion, though, as an abortion is performed with the direct intent to terminate the pregnancy and kill the unborn child. Think about it this way: if a child survives an abortion, the abortion is considered failed. If a child survives doctors performing treatment on the mother, well, then, it’s not a failed anything. Kate Bryan also wrote an article for Live Action News that very well outlines and defines the difference between an abortion and life-saving treatment. The Ireland approach to comprehensive maternal health without abortion has resulted in one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world garnering a #3 world rank according to the World Health Organization.
Such a law making abortion permissible to save the life of the mother is unnecessary because it has already been declared, in Ireland, by the Dublin Declaration, that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of the mother. Author Josh Craddock has also written several articles on the matter.
As I just mentioned above, doctors do intervene, but to reiterate, when it is life-saving treatment, it is not called an abortion. If the law is to be consistent with the Dublin Declaration, then don’t equate it with abortion. That doesn’t clarify anything, but rather only adds further mix-up and detracts from the truth that abortion is never anything but the direct intent to kill a baby.
If Irish law calls such treatment an abortion, and thus has exceptions for “the life of the mother,” then what is to stop future Irish laws from making more exceptions, such as for the “health of the mother”? There might then be exceptions for rape and incest added down the line, too. The more exceptions there are, the more abortions performed, and the more likely it is that there will come a time when abortion is allowed for a whole multitude of other reasons. That may never happen in Ireland, but if it does, it could very well start with a single exception.
I hope Ireland never falls down this slippery slope. If there’s a country I have faith in to return to pro-life principles and remain pro-life, it’s Ireland. Recently, 10,000 pro-lifers rallied in Dublin, calling on Fine Gael, a political party in Ireland, to keep its promise and for the country to remain pro-life. I have a feeling that these pro-lifers will have something to say about such legislation. We shall see.