‘Don’t use tragedy as reason to legislate’

Catholic groups and high-profile campaigners against legalising abortion have hit out at the circumstances which allegedly led to the death of Savita Halappanavar.

However, despite the outrage over what happened, the same individuals insist the case should not be seen as an argument to legislate for the practice in this country.

Senator Rónán Mullen, Catholic Comment, and the Life Institute all made near identical comments in relation to the incident.

Mr Mullen said: “According to Medical Council guidelines, widely accepted medical practice and Irish law, a woman in Ms Halappanavar’s situation is entitled to the medical treatment she needs.

“A primary issue in this case may have been the diagnosis and management of infection. But there would be no good legal or ethical reason why an induced delivery could not have taken place, once the medical situation called for that.”

He said it was “regrettable” that some people were seeking to use this tragedy as an argument for legislating for the Supreme Court decision the in X case. “There is no legal impediment to offering all necessary medical treatment to pregnant women.”

Similarly, Catholic Comment said: “While we don’t know the full facts of the death, it is clear that under current medical practice in Ireland, she should not have been denied treatment necessary to save her life. This is in line with ethical standards, including Catholic perspective. She should not have been told she could not receive necessary medical treatment because ‘this is a Catholic country’.”

Separately, the Life Institute said: “It is very sad to see abortion campaigners rush to exploit this case to further their own agenda. The tragic loss of Savita’s life was not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion.”

An array of pro-choice groups such as Atheist Ireland, Galway Pro-Choice, and others have insisted the death of Savita means new laws allowing abortion in Ireland must be passed.

The groups said women’s lives are at risk.

* Read more:

Kenny rejects link to abortion law stance

Reilly: We need clarity but may not require legislation

‘The consultant said it was the law’

‘Don’t use tragedy as reason to legislate’

Legislative minefield, but medical rulings clear

Abortion in Ireland: A legal quagmire

Health official ‘fears there could be other cases’

Tragic death accentuates second-class status of women

Vigils demand abortion law

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