herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Two years after Savita's death we are more confused about abortion laws

Next time you're on an Aer Lingus flight to the UK, have a look around.

Statistically, it's likely that one woman on board is travelling to the UK for an abortion.

Those are the facts. Four thousand Irish women travel abroad for terminations each year. That's almost 80 a week or nearly 11 every single day.

Since the death of Savita Halappanavar two years ago, 8,000 women have travelled for abortions.

And if that's not an 'abortion culture', I don't what is.

Savita's death sparked the debate which brought about the change in legislation here and yet we still have the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

You could be jailed for 14 years for having an abortion here or helping someone to have an abortion here, if you or they don't qualify under the narrow legislation.

abused

But if the majority of those 4,000 women and girls are having abortions because they had an unplanned pregnancy or if they were raped or abused and became pregnant, or indeed if they had planned and badly wanted a baby but were told that the baby would have fatal foetal abnormalities, well the current statistics will pretty much remain the same.

The abortion culture that we've always had won't change either.

It's been 22 years since the X case came before the courts and in those 22 years successive, male-dominated Governments made up of all parties showed their yellow bellies by never dealing with the abortion issue properly.

In 22 years almost 90,000 women have travelled for terminations.

In the two years since the death of Savita, the passing of legislation hasn't clarified the confusion surrounding abortion legislation.

It seems, in fact, that we're more confused than ever.

And we still have that abortion culture.

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