This refers to the report “Savita’s death triggers Irish backlash against anti-abortion law” (Nov. 16). No religious belief preaches taking the life of an innocent human being. Her death should make the Irish government legalise abortion. There must be pressure from the international community, including the human rights organisation and the Red Cross Society, in this regard.

J.P. Reddy, Nalgonda,

Both the patient and the doctors were aware of the fact that postponing the abortion involved serious risks to her life. The law may state that a foetal heartbeat is evidence of life, but the doctors should have used their professional judgment instead of punctiliously adhering to the letter of the law. If educated sections in western societies still believe that women’s reproductive rights are qualified by religious beliefs, the West does not deserve the tag of progressiveness and modernity which it claims as a natural right.

T.K.S. Thathachari, Secunderabad

It is indeed very sad and shameful that in such an advanced country like Ireland, someone has to die for inaction on the part of government and recklessness on the part of hospital authorities. It is a pity that often constitutional amendments come only at the cost of innocent lives.

S. Parthasarathy, Chennai

Laws are meant to protect human lives and their liberty. It is hoped the shock wave the tragic death of Savita has generated across Ireland would force the government to allow termination of pregnancy in exceptional circumstances.

M. Jeyaram, Sholavandan

Common sense and rationalism should take precedence over everything else. A detailed investigation should be ordered not just to mollify or placate the spontaneous public outcry and emotional upsurge, but to see that such insane acts are not repeated.

R. Sampath, Chennai

I think we need to make a distinction between the law of the country and Catholic moral teaching. In general, the Catholic church does not allow abortion, as it amounts to “murder” — “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception,” is a catechism of the Catholic Church. However, in situations where the life of the mother is in danger due to pregnancy-related complications, the principle of “double effect” is applied, and thus the Church allows that in the process of saving the mother, the child may die. Mixing the law of the country and the teaching of the Church runs the risk of misinterpreting the situation and the teachings of the Catholic Church. A failure of treatment cannot be attributed to the Catholic Church.

Siby Augustine, Bangalore

It is appalling that western society has gone conservative as to certain basic tenets of life mandatory in a civilised society. The inability of the EU — this year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize for peace — in highlighting the beneficial impact of ‘the right to abort’ among its member countries is a failure to acknowledge and sustain human rights.

Aswathi Narayan, Alappuzha

Even Saudi Arabia relaxes the law when a woman’s life is on the line and, with the husband’s permission, terminates her pregnancy to save her life. African nations have more compassion in such cases, or even after rape.

Motupalli S. Prasad, Chennai

I am not ashamed to say I am Catholic or that I am anti-abortion. But I am very ashamed that such gross medical negligence occurred in a “Catholic country” under passive obedience to a moral doctrine, leading to such tragic consequences. The Catholic doctrine of Double Effect (which permits loss of the unborn as an indirect result of the direct act of saving the mother’s life) could have been effectively applied to save Dr. Halappanavar’s life. The case betrays a lack of true understanding of the Catholic position by the medical staff at the University Hospital Galway; it betrays a spirit of fear (of the law in the country) rather than a spirit of love. Inevitably, therefore, the Irish government must face up to the demand of “pro-choice” activists who seem to have turned a case of medical negligence into one of failure of ethics.

Loreto A. Xavier, Chennai

Keywords: Savita death

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