Ireland Votes 2-1 To End Ban On Abortion, Expecting Full Rights To Be Extended To Women Until 12 Weeks

A mural in Dublin of  Savita Halappanavar , who died in 2012 of complications from a miscarriage after a hospital rejected a request for an abortion.CreditBarry Cronin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A mural in Dublin of Savita Halappanavar, who died in 2012 of complications from a miscarriage after a hospital rejected a request for an abortion.CreditBarry Cronin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Voters in Ireland decisively decided to repeal one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the world, moderated only slightly after the death in 2012 of Savita Halappanavar who was mandated to die by the Catholic Church, rather than give her medical abortive treatment for the septic miscarriage that was poisoning her body and ultimately killed her. 

The Catholic patriarchy does not know what it is to have your own body dictated by law to have no more rights than the dead fetus in your body. Most Catholic bishops in America also support this position -- that the woman must die, rather than receive medical treatment. Yes, some state laws have stopped this practice and Catholic hospitals say they make every effort to move the patient to a hospital that will treat her. But reality is that about one-third of America's hospitals are run by the Catholic Church and women in those hospitals have no more rights than the now-dead Savita Halappanavar.

The referendum in Ireland was decisive, with two-thirds of voters overturning the ban on abortion. Ireland “is taking the proper steps to separate church and state and to move forward as a more progressive country,” said Conor Flynn, a 22-year-old student.

Casting a vote in Dublin on Friday.CreditPeter Morrison/Associated Press

Casting a vote in Dublin on Friday.CreditPeter Morrison/Associated Press

Until now thousands of Irish women had traveled to England or bought pills illegally to terminate their pregnancies, risking a 14-year jail sentence if discovered in Ireland. The Times  notes, and we confirm, that the willingness to challenge the sanctimonious demands of the Catholic patriarchy have accelerated in recent years, given the endless sex scandals that have dominated Vatican headlines in recent years. Ireland has the additional disgrace of not only their share of pedophile priests, but "thousands of unwed mothers who were placed into servitude in so-called Magdalene laundries or mental asylums as recently as the mid-1990s", writes The New York Times.  

Essentially, the law in Ireland has been so restrictive as to be a personhood law mandating that the legal rights of the mother are the same as those of the zygote or fertilized egg that she is carrying. Pro-life advocates prefer the term 'baby', but most women do not equate a fertilized egg with their own fully-developed selves and their expanded roles as mothers, wives, workers, and leaders. Historically fertilized eggs were not equated this status, not even when monotheism first planted its roots in the western world. 

In Ireland in advance of the vote, some priests threatened their congregations with a refusal of communion for voting "yes". Voters were not dissuaded. In the very moment when Trump supporters are trying to create a theocracy in America, insisting that Trump has been sent by God, the Irish delivered a major blow to such thinking. 

“This is devastating for the Roman Catholic hierarchy,” said Gail McElroy, professor of politics at Trinity College Dublin. “It is the final nail in the coffin for them. They’re no longer the pillar of society, and their hopes of re-establishing themselves are gone.”