South American countries that don’t allow abortions should really look at Ireland’s new abortion law and possibly learn from it, said noted gynaecologist Dr Sabaratnam Arulkumaran. As memory will suggest, Arulkumaran headed the inquiry ordered by the Irish Health Service Executive into the death of Indian-born dentist Savita Halappanavar (31), after she was denied an abortion in an Irish hospital as it was deemed ‘illegal’. Savita’s case caused a global outrage and coupled with a strong report filed by Arulkumaran, pushed the cause of a new law in Ireland.
Barely a few days after the Irish government passed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, that allowed abortions under specific circumstances, Arulkumaran said, “It is important to understand that there are still many countries that do not allow abortion, even though it is medically the best way to save the life of a woman. Most of these countries can look to Ireland and learn that it is not too late to make a change,” said Dr Arulkumaran, a UK-based, Sri Lankan Tamil doctor, who was in Chennai for FERTICON 2013. He was conferred a lifetime achievement award for his work in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the convention on Sunday.
Though he didn’t really reveal too much more about the investigation into Savita’s death, he did say that India’s burden of post-natal child deaths and high risk pregnancies was something that needed a “lot of care”. He stressed, “I trust that all the qualified gynaecologists and specialist doctors in this country will do their best to ensure that the number of high-risk pregnancies comes down in the next few years.