Vomiting and shaking, Indian-Irish dentist Savita Halappanavar was denied treatment when her 17-week pregnancy turned into an infectious miscarriage. “This is a Catholic country,” the doctors of Galway University Hospital informed her. Although her fetus was not predicted to survive, its beating heart prevented her from receiving surgical operations. In agonizing pain, Halappanavar lost her life in Ireland on October of 2012 (Waterfield, 2013, para. 1).
This gruesome incident highlighted one of many cases in which Ireland, a wealthy and developed country, refused to provide its citizens with basic health services in times of medical emergencies. During an interview conducted by RTE News, a popular Irish broadcasting station, gynecologist Dr. Sam Coulter-Smith from a nearby hospital explained that it was not the doctors to blame, but the country’s legislature (RTE News, 2012). Due to the lack of appropriate regulations protecting the termination of pregnancies, practitioners were unable to provide quality service in fear of acting “outside the law” (RTE News, 2012). Furthermore, this left room for high-status doctors to deny the need of service to others due to their personal beliefs.
Although abortion has been performed in the world since ancient times, it is a highly controversial topic. For ages, there has been a tumultuous dichotomy between pro-choice and pro-life arguments. Abortion represents the clash between religions, raises question on value and morality, and asks to define what life is both philosophically and legally. Today, democratic governments such as Ireland attempt to skirt around the line between pro-choice and pro-life standpoints. Among these governments, Canada’s is no exception.
After the decriminalization of abortion in 1988, (Morton, 1988, p.2; Simon, 1998, p.35), Canada had no laws supporting or opposing abortion. This allowed for loopholes in the medical care system and decreased the quality of service provided to women who needed abortion. Today, abortion is unattainable for many Canadians. For instance, Chris Kaposy (2010), university professor in Health Care Ethics, argued that Canada’s healthcare system in relation to abortion is limited and inconsistent across provinces due to the disparities among each region’s jurisdictions (p.20). Similarly, Laura Eggertson (2001), president of the Adoption Council of Canada, found that social stigma and backlash from the public at abortion clinics caused fewer doctors to practice in this field (p.848). In addition, there were accounts of pro-life doctors being unaccountable for misinformation transferred to patients seeking abortion (Kaposy, 2010, p.19).
The barriers preventing abortion access is detrimental to the welfare of Canadian women, as abortion is a necessary service. In this essay, I will highlight what makes abortion a necessity and explain how alternatives are insufficient. Then, I will discuss how open access to abortion enhances the wellbeing of Canadian women...