Lobby group accused of exploiting death

Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 00:00

Anti-abortion campaigners say pro-choice groups are “exploiting” the death of Savita Halappanavar to further their agenda.

Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute said the loss of Ms Halappanavar’s life was not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion, and it was “very sad to see abortion campaigners rush to exploit this case. We need to ensure that mothers and babies are best protected, and abortion is not part of best medical practice. It is medieval medicine,” she said.

A statement from Youth Defence said the death was a “tragic loss”, but it was important to remember Irish doctors were always obliged to intervene to save the life of a mother, even if that risked the life of her baby.

“The Medical Council are very clear in this regard that their guidelines state that doctors will be struck off if they don’t intervene to save the life of a mother,” it said.

Youth Defence added that a delay in administering antibiotics may have been the cause of the septicaemia which led to Ms Halappanavar’s death, but the results of investigations by University Hospital Galway and the HSE would reveal the facts.

Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said it was important to remember Ireland was recognised as a world leader in protecting women in pregnancy by the UN and World Health Organisation, without the use of induced abortion.

Pro-choice lobbyists said Ms Halappanavar’s death highlighted the “urgent need” for the Government to legislate for the constitutional right to abortion where the life of the mother is at risk. Director of the National Women’s Council Orla O’Connor said Ms Halappanavar’s death was “horrific and needless”, and called on the Government to take immediate action to legislate. It is simply unacceptable that 20 years after the X Case ruling women and doctors are still waiting for the much needed legal clarity.

Chairman of Atheist Ireland Michael Nugent said the refusal by Irish politicians to legislate for abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman had contributed to the circumstances leading to Ms Halappanavar’s death.