The death of 31 year old Indian, Savita Halappanavar, in Ireland six years ago following a septic miscarriage after being denied an abortion had created a serious debate about the restrictive abortion laws in the deeply catholic country. The debate culminated in the historic referendum this week where voters backed the change in the abortion laws by two-to-one, a far higher margin than any opinion poll in the run up to the vote had predicted.
The comments of the Irish Prime Minister – Leo Varadkar – that the repealing of the Eight Amendment (the current restrictive abortion law) is the culmination of a quiet revolution that’s been taking place in Ireland over the last couple of decades is enough of a statement to gauge the mood of the Irish people against the Eight Amendment.
The Eighth Amendment prohibited termination in most cases, including rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality and only allowed terminations in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
Savita Halappanavar’s father has expressed his satisfaction over the amendment. He also called for the legislation that will follow the historic referendum result to be referred to as “Savita’s law” as a tribute to his daughter. Savita’s death acted as a catalyst for the movement to repeal the Eighth Amendment. Laws are mean to safeguard the lives of the masses. It’s unfortunate when an individual has to sacrifice his /her life due to regressive laws.
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