SECOND OPINION: At last women who give birth in Irish hospitals may have at least one of their human rights respected and vindicated. The Report of the Expert group on the Judgment in A, B and C v Ireland says that legislation to regulate access to lawful termination of pregnancy in Ireland is “constitutionally, legally and procedurally sound”.
The State must “provide effective and accessible procedures to establish a woman’s right to an abortion as well as access to such treatment”.
Maternal mortality rates are often quoted by anti-abortion campaigners to show that new legislation is not needed because Ireland’s maternity services are among the best in the world. These rates are meaningless when used to support an anti-abortion stance.
A 2012 analysis of maternal mortality in European perinatal health surveillance systems, including Ireland, shows that current data are insufficient for comparison between countries, because the tiny numbers and statistical variability from year to year are difficult to interpret.
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Three years ago, Nepal’s Supreme Court(SC) catapulted the nation to the forefront of the global women’s rights movement by unequivocally ruling that women have a constitutionally protected right to safe and affordable abortion services. The story behind that groundbreaking decision begins with Lakshmi Devi Dhikta. Lakshmi is an extremely poor woman from Dadeldhura who already had five children when she became pregnant for the sixth time. She and her husband knew having another child would be too hard on their family financially and on Lakshmi’s health — so they went to a government hospital to request an abortion.
"International human rights groups" have contacted the husband of the late Savita Halappanavar and have pledged to help him in his European court battle.