Savita death must be catalyst for change: Indian church body

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Nov. 20 -- Upholding the right to life, an anguished National United Christian Forum (NUCF) has called for changes and to focus on the lessons learnt from the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland.

NUCF is a body comprising leaders from all the major churches in India. "Life is precious and sacred and can never be replaced. We ask for all concerned to stop making this a church-versus-state issue and focus on the lessons we learn from this tragedy. Let this tragedy be a catalyst for change here in our own homeland," a NUCF release said.

"The Christian stance is that an abortion can never be done because it means the death of a defenseless, feeble life in the womb. But another medical procedure can be performed as long as the intention is to save the mother's life, even if the procedure may end the life of the child. The death of the child is foreseen but not willed," it said.

The release cited the findings of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which said every five minutes a woman dies while delivering a child in India.

According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health, most such deaths are avoidable.

The NUCF also called upon all political leaders to refrain from making loose remarks against any community, in an effort to derive political mileage.

Savita, 31, a dentist, died in an Irish hospital after doctors allegedly refused to terminate her 17-week pregnancy, saying a Catholic Ireland forbade abortion.

Thousands, upset over her tragic death, have held rallies and candle light vigils across Ireland demanding changes in the country's abortion laws.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.