On October 28, 2012, Savita Halappanavar died.
It was a death that shocked a nation and sparked debates regarding Ireland’s eighth amendment, which stated that: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
On May 26, 2018, a referendum was held. The Eight Amendment was repealed.
Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, the repeal is alarming because it represents something far more sinister than the news outlets celebrating such as a victory would dare to tell you. What the repeal shows is that Ireland has abandoned her national culture and heritage in favor of a globalist way of thought. Ireland has turned her back on her national set of values and morals, and in its place she erects an altar to this new “progressive” ideology that has become the norm. In her deep desire to fit in the modern world and to catch up to her Western peers, Ireland has discarded the last vestige of her Catholic identity for a new identity: one of a modernist, progressive, and globalist state.
But what of, you might say, Savita Halappanavar? And those like her?
The tale of Mrs. Halappanavar is a sad one. Mrs. Halappanavar was a young Indian dentist who, pregnant with her first child, went to the hospital to complain about back pain. After an examination, it was shown that the gestational sac had protruded into her vagina and that a miscarriage was inevitable. She and her husband considered getting an abortion, but were informed that under Irish laws, such was allowed only if there was an actual, and not theoretical, threat to the life of the mother. Mrs. Halappanavar began to develop signs of sepsis- however, medication could not be given as she had, around that time, given birth to a stillborn child. The sepsis progressed to a cardiac arrest. And it was thus that on a quiet Sunday morning, Mrs. Halappanavar’s soul departed her body.
A quick perusal of this case would lead anyone to indignation and rightfully so. It would appear that had not the Eight Amendment been present, perhaps Mrs. Halappanavar would have still been alive today. But was it really the fault of the eighth amendment – does this amendment cruelly leave the life of the mother to perish for the sake of her unborn child?
“… AS FAR AS PRACTICABLE, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.” What does this mean? The case of Attorney General v X led to the 13th and 14th amendments, which allowed a woman to have abortion in another country and that one had the right to distribute information on abortion in another country. Under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, abortion is permitted if there is a real and substantial risk of loss of the woman’s life, which includes a risk of suicide. The 2010 case of A, B, and C v Ireland showed that the failure to provide an accessible procedure from whence a woman can determine whether or not she is eligible for abortion is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. It is clear then that the Eight Amendment does not put an absolute ban on abortion, but makes an exception when the mother’s life is at stake. The death of Savita Halappanavar was not due to the Eight Amendment, but rather to the failure of the medical staff at that time to properly assess the situation.
What the Eight Amendment did was to embody the stance of Ireland regarding the fetus- that she saw the fetus as a human life. Such a stance was a respectful nod to the Catholic culture of which was once an integral part of the identity of Ireland.
What the repeal of Eighth Amendment showed the world was that Ireland had discarded the last remains of her Catholic heritage and instead took on the idea that abortion is a woman’s rights issue- that the fetus is not a human life and is just a part of a woman’s body, and therefore, the woman can do whatever she pleases with her own body.
Whatever your stance on abortion is, the reality is that the culture of Ireland has changed. Whereas countries like Poland still hold their Christian ideals sacred to this day and defend them, Ireland has decided to spurn her previous identity.
The old Ireland is dead. In her place is a nation whose ideals are no different from that of her Western neighbors.