[The Irish Times:]
Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.
This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Mr. Halappanavar told the paper that he asked a consultant if they couldn't induce labor and save his wife, but was told no. "The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country," he said. "Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do."
Savita might as well have been treated by witch doctors, then sacrificed to some idiot god she didn't believe in. I can't imagine what a nightmare it must be for everyone to know exactly what could be done to save your life, to be surrounded with the technology capable of doing it, but to be denied survival because of superstition -- "This is a Catholic country" might as well be stated, "this is a stone age culture."
Once again, we see idiotic and brutal math involved with the "pro-life" position. Quite a while back, I wrote a post about the abortion ban in Romania under communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu. Ceaucescu banned abortion in his country and women began dying in epidemic numbers overnight. And it was all entirely predictable. As I wrote at the time, women abort because they feel they have to -- that they'd risk their lives to do it proves they feel they have no choice. And to return to that brutal math:
So what we see is that when abortion is illegal women -- who are indisputably alive -- die. And, since these women are pregnant, that hypothetical unborn life would logically be dead too. The math doesn't really work. As a lifesaving measure, banning abortion sucks.
Keep in mind, Savita Halappanavar died not so that her "unborn child" could live, but so that the fetus' heartbeat would stop. There was no saving this pregnancy, they were merely prolonging her agony to satisfy some unscientific and entirely philosophical argument. Nothing about this death serves any point at all. It was stupid. This is a tragedy unworthy of a 21st century nation.
And this would be the state of American medicine if a whole lot of people had their way. Further, this would be what any Catholic hospital could do if even more had their way. A woman could be told she must die to serve her failing fetus, because that's what the hospital's "religious freedom" demands. The patient's religious freedom? Screw that. This is a Catholic
This whole "pro-life" frootloopery is about more than idiotic theories about rape. It's about more than temper tantrums over contraception coverage. It's about women's freedom. Not in any abstract sense, but in the very real "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" sense. In the sense that they get to refuse to be sacrificed to satisfy someone else's religion. That they're free to be guided by their own beliefs and their own moral code, not those handed down on high from the Priests of the High and Holy Government Order.
It was the Halappanavar's misfortune that they didn't live in a free country and that misfortune cost Savita her life. It was an entirely avoidable tragedy -- which is why I, for one, will never stop fighting to avoid similar American tragedies.
[photo via Irish Times]