UPDATE: Irish Leaders Affirm Need to Clarify Abortion Laws
Today, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore urged the Irish Parliament to clarify the restrictive abortion laws that lead to the death of Indian national Savita Halappanavar in Ireland last month.
"It is time to bring legal clarity to the issue," he said. "Although we will not know the full details until the investigation has been completed, we have heard what Savita's husband said yesterday and as legislators we have a duty and responsibility to respond, act and deal with the issue. . .I do not think we, as a country, should allow a situation where women's lives are put at risk in this way. We must deal with the issue and bring legal clarity to it."
He also stated that he and Prime Minister Enda Kenny will be reviewing a report from a group of experts tasked with researching abortion, and that the recommendations in the report will help guide the process.
Ireland has also come under international scrutiny over the incident. Savita's death has been the subject of headlines across the world, including the Times of India, whose headline read "Ireland murders pregnant Indian dentist." The Guardian reports that Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesperson for India's ministry of external affairs, confirmed that the Indian embassy in Dublin is "following the matter."
Savita Halappanavar died last month in Ireland after she was denied an abortion while miscarrying her pregnancy. She was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at University Hospital Galway complaining of severe back pain. Hospital staff determined she was miscarrying, however doctors refused to remove the pregnancy until three days later. After the pregnancy was removed, Savita was transferred to intensive care where she died three days later of what was determined to be septicaemia (similar to blood poisoning).
Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband, told the Irish Times that she had asked for an abortion multiple times while she was miscarrying, but was told that the hospital could not do anything until the fetal heartbeat stopped. Savita experienced vomiting, shivers, shakes, and even physically collapsed in the three days before the fetal heartbeat stopped. When Savita asked if the hospital could induce labor to end the pregnancy, a hospital employee told the family that Ireland is a Catholic country and "as long as there's a foetal [sic] heartbeat we can't do anything."
Media Resources: Guardian 11/15/12; Reuters 11/15/12; Feminist Newswire 11/14/12
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .