|File picture of Savita Halappanavar from Irish Times|
This is one serious topic that i have been contemplating for a long time. The tragic death of Dr Savita Halappanavar in Ireland has intimidated the long burning rage. Who would have thought the Irish laws leaned heavily on religion- Christianity? The Catholic Church is anti- abortion and the Irish law is entirely based on it. The lawmakers are yet to wake from their stupor. Abortion laws differ from country to country, majority of them making it 'legal on request'. Few states require parental consent in case of minors, but in case of clinically injurious pregnancies, a request by the mother would suffice.
God has given equal rights of life for everyone and that includes unborn fetus too. True. But does not the mother have the right to live? Why do women have to move from country to country to have an abortion done? The law forbids them from aborting their child in their homeland and so they move to other countries that permit! In case of Ireland, pregnant women travel all the way to England to abort. How convenient! The other side of the Sea permits you to abort whereas Ireland does not. And don't think the travel is easy- they won't let you leave the country if they know you are pregnant! All this in the name of protecting the religion? The country? The women? Who are we kidding?
We condole the death of Dr Savita. Her death has inspired tens of thousands in Ireland to take to the streets demanding revamp in the sections 58 and 59. There is one more dark nation that forbids abortion and we know nothing of it, not even a stub in wikipedia dares speak of it- Saudi Arabia! The Gulf nation prohibits abortions- again in the name of God! Oh God! Have mercy! There are many hushed cases of botched abortions, scores of deaths due to unethical termination of pregnancies and quacks who make a fortune out of these poor women. Those who have the money and means, travel across the border to neighboring Bahrain where it is permitted to abort a child.
For immigrants and those who have no means, an abortion pill can cost you up to 2000 Saudi Riyals in the black market. There are physicists who stealthily distribute them and there are women who flee the country bleeding profusely after botched abortions. I know of women who were forced to return back to India to have abortions done. Is it not funny we let the Church and Mosques determine the birth or death of a child or that of a mother? It is sheer irony that the religions that respect the life of a child dispose the importance of the life of a mother.
It is high time we set rules and laws on our conscience than some religious laws rule us. But then that is how we have been brought up- to submit to the whims and fancies of the religion and the so called virtues it professes. I sincerely wish the Irish Government wakes up to the Savita tragedy and amends its laws. As for Saudi Arabia, all i can do is feel sorry for the women, including the expats lodged there...
Thank Heavens, the Indian Abortion laws, the 1971 Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act still holds good, the clauses are clear and the law categorically states that husband has no right over his wife who chooses to terminate her pregnancy on her own. In case of minors, consent of a guardian is sufficient for an abortion. Though sex selective abortions mar the erstwhile women friendly laws, i feel safe and protected in a democratic nation, than the women of the liberated Ireland or conservative Saudi Arabia.