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article imageHalappanavar's death sparks protest on Ireland's abortion law

By Can Tran     Nov 17, 2012 in World
The death of Savita Halappanavar has ignited protest across the world. In Ireland, it has re-ignited the talk on abortion rights. This also parallels the abortion debate in the United States.
In the United States, the talk about abortion has been a hot-button social issue in politics. In the 2012 United States election cycle, this became a hot topic in the GOP primary. This contributed to losses by the GOP in the White House and United States Senate races. It started out when former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, in the GOP primary race, talked about his opposition to abortion. That's even in the case of rape. When being interviewed, Santorum said that rape victims should make the best of the situation as it's still a “gift from God.” That would be the spark that lit the fuse on rape and abortion. This is one of the reasons that there are Republicans blaming the Tea Party Movement for losses.
After the elections, conservative columnist Michael Barone spoke at Hillsdale College. Barone gave his assessment of the losses by the GOP. Talking about the Tea Party Movement, he said that it brought talent; but, it brought “wackos.” Though he didn't mention names, Barone questioned why certain Senate candidates felt the need to give their views on abortion in the case of rape. He said that talking about such legislation goes against the US Constitution.
Barone was referring to Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who lost their respective races in Missouri and Indiana.
Akin made this remark on “legitimate rape” in which if that was the case, the female's body has ways to terminate the pregnancy. As a result, Akin received much political fire especially from Republicans. That provided ammunition for Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to use against Akin. On Election Night, Akin lost.
Mourdock, in a debate, said that pregnancy, even in the case of rape, is still something that was “intended by God.” This provided valuable ammunition for the Democrats to use against Mourdock. At the end, Mourdock lost his Senate race.
In a recent Cosmopolitan article, more Americans are pro-choice according to a Rasmussen poll.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who's set to lead the GOP Governor's Association, said that the Republican Party needs to stop being the “party of stupidity.” He said that the GOP needs to end “dumbed-down conservatism.”
Karen Hughes, one of former US President George W. Bush's advisers, said that the daughters of many of her friends voted for Democratic Barack Obama because they were turned off by comments from people like Akin. She warned that she would cut off the tongue of any other GOP male if they made the same comments as the ones made by Akin or Mourdock.
Recently, Romney's been receiving a lot of political fire for his “gifts” remark when calling his donors. When talking to his campaign donors, Romney said that the reason he lost was because of Obama giving “gifts” to his key voting blocks. In regards to women voters, Romney talked about contraceptives and the Affordable Health Care Act which many have called “Obamacare.”
While this is a hot button issue in the United States, this is a hot button issue in other parts of the world such as Ireland. In Ireland, there is the recent case of an Indian woman named Savita Halappanavar. There was a public announcement made of Halappanavar's death made a few days ago; however, her death occurred a month ago.
A recent Washington Post blog says that the consequences of Halappanavar's death in Ireland parallels the abortion debate in the United States.
Her death has started to fuel the abortion debate in Ireland. Pro-choice groups are saying that they need to make sure that deaths like her never happen again; at the same time, the pro-life Youth Defense group is saying that banning abortion does not threaten the lives of women.
At the time of her death, Halappanavar was 31. She worked as a dentist. The date and location of her death was on October 28 at University Hospital Galway. The cause of Halappanavar's death was E.coli ESBL which caused an infection. The other cause was blood-poisoning.
She was a few months pregnant. Halappanavar miscarried; but, hospital staff refused to perform an abortion as it was against the law. According to her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, the hospital staff said they further refused to perform the abortion was because Ireland was a “Catholic country.” After Halappanavar's death, there has been much outrage through Ireland and Great Britain. Currently, there are inquiries being launched into her death.
Virendra Sharma, a British Labour Party MP, said that her life could have been saved. Irish Senator Ivana Bacik said that this is a wake-up call. Bacik said that the lives of women in Ireland have been in danger by the failure to legislate on the issue. In response to Halappanavar's death, Bacik said that this is the time to start working on legislation.
The international human rights group Amnesty International expressed concern that Ireland's law has a hole in it when it comes to the right of an abortion when the mother's life is at risk. The executive director of the Irish branch of Amnesty International said that denying the right of a safe and legal abortion when the mother's life is at risk violates international human rights law. With what Amnesty International said, this could also bring up the talk of international human rights in Ireland.
Even India's government has weighed in and expressed concerns. Ireland's ambassador to India was summoned by the Indian government in regards to the incident. Members of India's Bharatiya Janata Party protested outside the Irish embassy in response to Halappanavar's death.
According to a recent TIME article said that demonstrations took place in New Delhi and Bangalore on November 16. Protesters are planning a vigil for Halappanavar in Ireland, Great Britain, and Belgium. This looks to be a surefire sign that this will spark an international debate on abortion. The Times of India, in a recent article, says that there are other countries where it is difficult to get an abortion.
In the United States, though this can be a politically suicidal topic now, the talk of abortion in general isn't going away anytime soon. This could seep into the 2014 US Elections where there are Senate, House, and governor's seats up for grabs. Perhaps there will be incumbents and challengers bringing up the death of Halappanavar.
More about Ireland, Abortion, Abortion rights, savita halappanavar, Irish
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