Abortion; a woman’s right.
Whilst many pro-life supporters argue that it will allow abortion to be used as a form of contraception, there are other more sensitive factors to consider. For example, in Ireland if a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, abortion is illegal. If a woman becomes pregnant as the result of abuse from a relative, again in Ireland, abortion is illegal. If for medical reasons you need an abortion, yep you guessed it….. illegal. Only if you are at death’s door is it legal and even then it’s hard to get one approved.
In 2012, Savita Halappanavar was going through a long and complicated miscarriage. She requested to have medical assistance to help nature along, but they refused and said that she had to wait for her body to naturally do its thing. Her and her husband repeatedly returned to the hospital, asking for help because they knew something wasn’t right and were worried that it would lead to further complications down the line. Unfortunately, Savita later died from blood poisoning as a result of complications following that miscarriage, something that could have been avoided if medical assistance had been granted. This case then became a trigger in re-evaluating abortion law, but to no avail.
Two years later, in 2014 a young mother was declared brain dead as the result of a head injury in November. Hospital staff declined to switch off her life support as she was 18 weeks pregnant. Her husband and parents took the medical team to court, wanting to put their wife and daughter at rest and prevent further distress. Medical professionals confirmed that there was very little chance of the baby surviving, if the mother was left on life support. However, they were so concerned about any fall out regarding the strict pro-life laws in Ireland that they declined to do so. In December judges finally ruled that life support could be terminated and disciplined 9 members of the 30 strong medical team that were working on her case. Again this brought attention back to the pro-life/pro-choice debate and more detailed clarification for medical professionals was sought to avoid situations like the above from happening again.
Many argue that despite the need to make allowances in such exceptional circumstances, abortion is a right that should be available to all women. That women should have the deciding factor as to what happens to their own bodies, a decision currently ruled by middle aged men in parliament. As the wonderful Tina Fey once said ‘I’ve had it up to here with grey-faced men telling women what rape is’, perhaps it’s time the same grey-faced men stopped telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies too.
Whilst such gender inequality and strict laws are usually reserved for the more under-developed countries, people are oblivious to the on-going struggles that are happening just next door. It is a sensitive subject that many decline to talk about, yet something that effects so many. It is a topic that divides opinion, but in the 21st century should we really let religion govern our laws as Ireland has done? Especially when the law effects those who do not necessarily share such religious beliefs?
As a woman can you picture living in a place where abortion is not an option? That you either had to have the child no matter the circumstances or travel oversees to seek medical assistance in terminating your pregnancy? The fear and desperation that you would feel? What lengths would you go to? Could you put yourself in the shoes of a rape victim or a young teenager with no other option?
I’m not here to tell you what is right or what is wrong, all I ask is that you don’t take the freedom we have to decide what happens to our own bodies for granted, and to spare a thought for all our Irish sisters next door.
Political restrictions for women are closer to home than you may think.
If you want to find out more information about #repealthe8th you can visit their twitter page at https://twitter.com/repealeight for continued updates and to read Grazia’s take on events just go to http://lifestyle.one/grazia/news-real-life/in-the-news/abortion-ireland-repeal-8th-amendment/