November 19, 2012
Pregnant Woman's Death in Ireland Becomes Global Flashpoint Over Abortion
Pro-choice activists from Dublin to Delhi demand change; Irish prime minister calls death "a tragic coincidence."
(Update: Ireland has pledged to decide on a new abortion law this month.)
In Dublin, an estimated 6,000 protesters rallied to legalize abortion in heavily Catholic Ireland, which has stringent anti-abortion laws. Similar marches in Galway, where Halappanavar died, and at the Irish embassy in the Indian capital Delhi called for the Dublin government to amend the abortion law or abolish it entirely.
Irish prime minister Enda Kenny says he will not rush into a decision on the right to abortion. He called any connection between Halappanavar's death and Irish abortion law a "tragic coincidence."
Doctors are still investigating Halappanavar's death to determine whether an abortion would have made a difference or not. Meanwhile, pro-life groups are protesting the spin being put on her death before all the facts are known.
A statute dating back to 1861 outlaws abortion in Ireland, but the country amended the law in 1992 to allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy when it endangers the mother's life. More recently, a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision in 2010 called for Ireland to clarify the status of abortion in Irish law.
Ireland is one of the last remaining countries in the European Union to outlaw abortion.