Some background on the Irish legal/political anti-choice clusterfuck that resulted in the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar:
…Chief amongst the social crises of 1992 was the X-case. A fourteen year-old girl, pregnant as the result of rape by a neighbor, sought to leave the country to have an abortion in England, as thousands of Irish women did and still do. Her parents asked the police whether it would be possible to collect any DNA evidence during this process, which brought the matter to the Attorney General’s attention. He sought, and was granted, a court injunction preventing her from traveling for the abortion under Article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution, which had been passed in 1983 as the “Pro-Life amendment” and which prohibited abortion in Ireland. The resulting constitutional crisis saw the Supreme Court issue a hasty ruling permitting the girl to travel, but under a strained interpretation of the law. So in November of 1992 the Government introduced three new amendments meant to clarify things. The result was that things reverted much to the status quo ante, which essentially allowed Ireland to export its abortion problem to the United Kingdom while leaving it unclear what doctors facing a medical emergency during pregnancy were in a position to do.
So the X Case ruling established that a woman in Ireland is legally entitled to an abortion when it’s necessary to save her life. But Ireland failed to implement the court ruling into actual legislation, which means doctors are reluctant to make the medically and ethically correct decision in the case of an emergency for fear of breaking the 1983 anti-abortion law.
One of the most horrible things about a horrible case is that anti-choice Catholics have forced their religious beliefs on people who aren’t even Catholic, like Savita. When informed by hospital staff that they wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy because “[Ireland] is a Catholic country”, Savita reportedly responded, “I am neither Irish nor Catholic.”
It’s nearly 2013—Ireland has to decide: is it a modern democracy that protects the life and rights of all of its people? Or is it a theocracy run by bishops and religious zealots?