There has been a lot of media coverage lately surrounding Ireland and a recent vote that had been cast. There was a vote to begin a path towards legalizing abortion. (de Freyta-Tamura, 2018) This is something that is an important topic regarding women’s health. This vote was to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which gave equal rights to the mother and fetus, which banned abortion under almost all circumstances (Meave 2015.) This law, however, did not explicitly put an end to abortions in Ireland. The women of Ireland instead had to go about other means to find a safe access to abortion. The statistics from 2010 are, 4,402 women from the Republic of Ireland went to England or Wales to access abortion facilities. The number being smaller, at 31 women, for those who sought services in the Netherlands. Irish customs seized 1,216 packets of abortion inducing drugs in 2009. The estimated statistic for the years between 1980-2017 is about 173,308 women had abortions abroad (IFPA 2010.) These numbers do not even include possible women who had abortions done illegally in Ireland under unsafe circumstances.
Abortion in Ireland is an important topic from a cultural standpoint for many reasons. One of which being the concept of Ireland being a “Catholic Country.” There was an incident in which a young woman, named Savita, died in 2012 after being denied an abortion (Quinn 2017.) While this is true she was denied an abortion, however it was not a direct result of Ireland being a Catholic Country. It was a result of the doctors that were caring for her. They did not permit the abortion because the fetus was not dead when she arrived. Had the doctors believed Savita’s life to be in danger when she arrived they could have permitted the abortion. Instead, Savita succumb to sepsis, her doctors did not realize the extent until it was to late (Quinn 2017.) However, Savita’s death was blamed on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. As a result of that law was passed in 2013 named “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act” (Quinn 2017.) This started a path for pro-choice advocates to move for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.
The right to abortion is also a public health topic that needs to be discussed. “A constitution that gives the biological existence of a fetus pre-eminence over other aspects of life gives rise to complex legal and ethical questions that have serious implications for women and healthcare professionals, reproductive autonomy, and women’s human rights to health and bodily integrity” (Meave 2015.) This is statement brings up the question of women’s right to health and whether women are being allowed the choice of their health or not. “the Supreme Court held that a pregnant woman has a right to a termination of her pregnancy if there is “real and substantial” risk to her life, as distinct from her health, that can only be averted by a termination of the pregnancy” (Meave 2015.) This would lead one to believe that a woman who believed her life to be in danger because of a pregnancy could be given one, however, only health care professionals can determine the risk to her life. This system did not work in favor of Savita so why would should women of Ireland trust that it will work for them. “The reality of abortion is often minimised, yet even in current times globally about one in five pregnancies will end in an abortion, regardless of whether it is legal or safe” (Shaw 2010.) Access to legal and safe abortion should be available to women everywhere, Ireland seems to be on the road for legalizing abortion.
Abortion & Ireland: The Statistics (2010). In IFPA. Retrieved July 27, 2018, from http://www.ifpa.ie/sites/default/files/documents/briefings/abortion-and-ireland-factfile.pdf
de Freytas-Tamura, K. (2018, May 26). Ireland Votes to End Abortion Ban, in Rebuke to Catholic Conservatism. The New York Times, p. A1. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/26/world/europe/ireland-abortion-yes.html
Meave, T. (2015, July 1). Women’s right to health and Ireland’s abortion laws. International journal of gynecology and obstetrics, 130(1), 93-97. Retrieved from http://za2uf4ps7f.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Ajournal&r
Quinn, D. (2017). Abortion Looming in Ireland. Human Life Review, 43(2). Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/docview/1927524893?pq-origsite=summon
Shaw, D. (2010, October). Abortion and human rights. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstretics & Gynaecology, 24(5), 633-646. Retrieved from http://za2uf4ps7f.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Ajournal&r