Sunday, December 2, 2012

Editorial, "Right to Life: Mother v. The Unborn", in 30 November 2012 October Revolution Special issue

The sad death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland due to the stubbon refusal of the ‘Catholic’ medical staff to allow her an abortion even though a miscarriage was detected, has sparked off indignant protests not only in Ireland but the world over against such callous cruelty of an obscurantist government in this modern age and also focused the need to reconcile the conflicting rights to life of the living mother and the unborn child. The Irish Constitution guarantees the right to life of the unborn child too and Irish law outlaws any abortion by any person resident in Ireland. The only exception as pronounced by the Irish Supreme Court in a 1992 decision {reported in this issue at pp. 55-114} is when the mother faces a real and substantial risk of death in the course of pregnancy. Savita’s case falls squarely under this exception but since there are no definite guidelines as per enacted statute, which lacuna was strongly censured by both the Irish Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, the religiously orthodox could inflict such irreversible loss on Savita’s family. In the end the mother was also thrown out with the baby! This calls for a wide debate over the rights to life of the born versus the unborn, so to put it. It is commendable that the right of the unborn child is constitutionally declared and protected but at the same time it should be harmonized with the equally important right of preservation of mother’s life too. True, not just Christianity, but even Hinduism, Buddhism and other oriental religions condemn abortion which is termed as ‘Bhruunahatya’ (foetus murder) in Hindu scriptures and ranked with five great sins. But even here, there is an exception of preserving the mother’s life. The ‘Catholic’ outrage in Ireland can be seen as a sort of over-reaction to the modern uncaring selfish capitalist culture which spurs and promotes the wild proft-and-enjoy desires of the individual even at the cost of society. The promiscuity generated/ tolerated allows irresponsible females aided by likeminded males not to care for their progeny even, which otherwise they would cherish to have and bring up. In a society with social ownership of the basic means of production and with careful social planning, the welfare of all children, legitimate or illegitimate, could be looked after well by the society itself and not left to individual whim and fancy. In such a humane socialism, any need for bhruuna hatyas just for the sake of hedonistic/base selfish desires may not arise since the society itself would take over all the obligations in regard to the child with no stigma to the mother. §§§

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