LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert has joined more than 50 cross-party Euro-MPs from some 15 countries to call on the Irish Government to legalise abortion after the recent death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman who died in an Irish hospital last month after being refused a termination.
Ms Lambert has signed a letter co-ordinated by Irish MEP Paul Murphy and the Chair of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Equality Committee, blaming Mrs Halappanavar’s death on the lack of legal clarity on the issue.
Ms Lambert said the Irish Supreme Court had previously ruled that abortion should be permitted when a mother’s life was in danger, but the failure of the Irish Parliament to change the law accordingly led to the confusion which caused Mrs Halappanavar’s recent death.
“This was a shocking case in which a woman’s death could have been prevented by clear legislation to bring a court ruling into effect.
“The exact circumstances of when abortion is legal should be a matter for the Irish people and parliament, but the law must be clear to everyone involved, and as an absolute minimum terminations should always be lawful if they are needed to save women from extreme pain and protect their health and life.”
She added that a failure to heed previous calls for legal clarity around abortions in Ireland was also in breach of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.