Her Womb is Now Her Own — Ireland and Abortion

 

Women are biologically favored as well as disadvantaged in being endowed with the womb, the home of human progeny. They have been meticulously managing the duty of nurturing and raising children since ages. Motherhood is revered in India and a woman incapable of procreation is considered infertile and incomplete. Women have been forced to sacrifice valuable years of their progressive careers for this task. A woman clearly has no right over her body and her womb. She is treated like a mere carrier or a vessel for procreation. She is forced to bear the burden of bearing children, even when she is least prepared for it.

Rights of the Foetus and the mother

Generally, no woman would like to abort the growing life in her womb. Circumstances bring in the necessity of abortion.

It is said that an abortion causes more damage to a woman’s body than a normal delivery. Avoiding abortions is a wise move and nobody can argue against it. Despite this, one has to consider the situations wherein abortion becomes inevitable from many aspects. In marriages involving minor girls, in rape cases where the victim has to bear the stigma and trauma in the form of the child, in cases of mothers with psychological strife, in extreme pressure conditions where an additional burden cannot be borne, in cases of fetal deformity and in acute medical conditions, abortions have to be allowed without legal hurdles. Minor and unmarried girls sometimes indulge in sexual intercourse without understanding the implications of such acts resulting in unwanted pregnancy and social stigma.

In Mahabharatha, the great Indian epic, Kunthi chants a secret manthra given to her and begets a child.

Fearing social ostracization, she leaves the child to its fate in the Ganga river. The child grows up to become a staunch rival of his very own brothers and tragically meets his death at their hands in the end.

This may be a puranic story, a myth but the fact is that many young girls commit suicide falling prey to sexual advances. Abortions would give them a new lease of life and save them from public shame.

Abortions necessitated by Medical complications

Christianity, just like all other religious faiths is averse to abortions, but many countries have allowed abortions with consent from parents, husband or other legal guardians. It is not a sin or a crime to foster liberal outlooks. In Ireland, unfortunately, the rights of the foetus is held on par with the rights of the mother and obsolete irrational anti-abortion laws were followed till the new referendum voted in favour of it this week. One has to remember the case of Savita, a dentist from India who died writhing in pain begging for permission to abort her first child in Ireland. Savita was legally wedded and was expecting her first child .She was denied permission to abort her foetus as the doctors could feel its heartbeat.

The foetus was partially dead and Savita was in immense pain and an abortion would have saved her from the painful and untimely death.

Ireland’s Historic Decision

In a historic decision, the anti-abortion law was repealed with 72.1% of women and 65.9% of men voting in favour of the abortion facility. People rejected the eighth amendment which gave equal rights to the foetus and its carrier. The annulment might put an end to the plight of women who were forced to seek abortion facilities in foreign lands. Savitha Halappanavar’s death in 2012, led to a major debate, in turn leading to the legal approval of foetus termination by the Irish government. Affirming to pass a law by the end of this year, the Irish State has allowed for abortion up to the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Between the 12th and 24th week of pregnancy, abortion would be permitted in case of a foetus abnormality or in any kind of a risk to the mother’s life.

 

This decision might end the misery of thousands of women in Ireland. Lauding the change, thousands of Irish women heartily welcomed the decision. Many even have expressed their wish to witness this law being named after Savita, the victim of the anti-abortion law. Creating a furore in the state, her heart-rending case has finally put an end to the rigid laws of the misogynistic law-makers of Ireland.

 

Picture Credits: Thegryphon.com



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