• Wed, Dec 19 2012

Religious Leaders In Ireland Are Furious That The Government Won’t Force Pregnant Women To Die For Their Unborn Children

abortionThe government in Ireland has officially passed legislation to allow abortions when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Politicians there are obviously trying to ensure that deaths like those of Savita Halappanavar, who died in the hospital after being denied a life-saving abortion, don’t happen again. After all, that horrible tragedy generated lots of bad press for Ireland. However, Irish religious leaders don’t seem to care that a woman lost her life needlessly.

That women in Ireland will no longer have to worry about their doctors ignoring their life-threatening medical needs in favor of the fetus in their uterus should be considered victory. But it is hard to get excited about legislation that should have been passed and implemented years ago. It’s especially hard when you hear men equating women’s rights to life-saving abortions to a “culture of death.”

In a statement, Cardinal Sean Brady and the archbishops of Dublin, Cashel and Tuam said:

“The unavoidable choice that now faces all our public representatives is: will I choose to defend and vindicate the equal right to life of a mother and the child in her womb in all circumstances, or will I choose to license the direct and intentional killing of the innocent baby in the womb?”

The Bishop of Kilmore provided the “culture of death” bit, adding,  ”For the very first time in Ireland it would inevitably lead to the most liberal kind of abortion.”

Let’s be clear. Ireland is only legalizing abortion when the other option is a mother’s death. When the choice is, “Abortion or the death of a living, breathing human being who might have other children to take care of, spouses who love them, and other extended family who will miss them terribly,” that’s when the Irish government says that abortion is acceptable. And this is the action that’s deemed unacceptable by religious leaders.

Pregnancy is a wonderful and miraculous experience, but it is still dangerous. No matter what medical technology is currently available, pregnancy can still be life-threatening when things go wrong. Doctors in every country, no matter what religion they are, need to be capable of saving women in these situations. They need to be able to use their judgment and listen to their patients’ wishes, and do whatever necessary to keep women alive, so that they might be able to try to have another child later on.

This should not be controversial. We shouldn’t have to applaud this country for finally attempting to acknowledge that a woman shouldn’t die for the sake of a fetus that might or might not survive. We definitely shouldn’t give them praise when such an action is greeted with condemnation from prominent members of the country’s religious establishment.

It’s a sad day when there’s a debate to decide whether or not women should be denied life-saving medical treatment, no matter what the outcome is.

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  • Diana

    The last time the Irish took a ‘religious leader’ seriously was 1970

  • Blueathena623

    The thing I don’t get is that, in most circumstances (and I could be wrong) if the mom needs an abortion to save her life, if she doesn’t get it, they BOTH die. Because if the fetus was viable doctors would just do an emergency c section, right? So the fetus dies either way, but in one option the mom hopefully doesn’t die, right? I mean, seriously, do I not understand this?

    • Tinyfaeri

      You do, some blind religious leaders do not.

    • BigBlue

      I don’t know if it’s really that they don’t understand, it’s more likely they just don’t care.

    • LindsayCross

      You’re correct. The problem is that due to religious pressure, some believe that you have to wait until the fetus’s heart beat stops before terminating that pregnancy, even if in the end, they both die. Many times, once the fetus has officially miscarried, the damage is already done to the mother.

    • TheHappyPappy

      Even some religious leaders are capable of seeing the contradiction you point out. There was a case in Egypt of a set of conjoined twins where one was the “autosite” (fully formed) and the other the “parasite” (partially formed and dependent on the autosite to survive- that’s the medical terminology, I don’t mean any disrespect). Drs determined the autosite would die if they weren’t separated. But because it was Egypt, they had consult with their religious leaders before proceeding with surgery. The religious leaders decided to allow the surgery on exactly the grounds you mention; if they didn’t proceed, both would die. If they did, the autosite would likely live. It seems like a simple equation, when you’re not totally blinded by rhetoric.

  • marya

    Let’s not point fingers at Ireland when we have the same mentality here in the U.S. and here, we ELECT them to public office.

    • SusannahJoy

      I don’t know about that… As much as there are a ton of people who hate abortion and want to make it illegal, the vast majority allow exceptions when the mother’s life is in danger. I grew up in a very conservative area, and the majority of people I knew were anti-abortion, but I didn’t know a single one who would say that it’s wrong to terminate if the mother will die if they don’t.

  • meteor_echo

    This person should be stuffed into a time machine and propelled right back into the 19th century. I hope to see the time when women in Ireland will be able to get abortion for whatever reason they choose without having to go to England.

  • Redwineandbrie

    The legislation hasn’t actually been passed yet, I’m afraid of counting my chickens as this was voted for TWENTY years ago and still not signed in but it’s a move in the right direction. It is hypocritical to hear the Catholic Church discussing a culture of death given that their orphanages, industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries are not exactly what one could call life affirming. It’s about time this country grew up and started doing right by all its citizens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004372834749 Paul Kelly

    Ireland is acknowledged as consistently in the top five countries in the world as providing the highest standards of health care to mother and her unborn baby,above Britain and America who are murdering millions of boys and girls under the guise of concern for the womans health.

  • Pingback: Catholic Hospitals, Abortion Procedures, Treatment Of Miscarriages

  • Jennifer

    This article is crap. The Irish times was busted for the Savita Halappanavr case, because apparently she NEVER requested or was denied an abortion.

    Further, Irish law already require doctors to save the mother’s life, even doing c-sections or whatever is necessary to save the mom.

    The Dublin Declaration and recent UN conventions have had tons of testimony that it is never medically necessary to do an abortion to save the mom. A c-section is always a possibility, and an abortion is no less invasive or less dangerous than a c-section. Especially considering that a second or third trimester abortion takes days whereas a c-sec takes minutes.

    Writers like this need to get over their pro-abortion bias and write about the facts instead.

    • Makabit

      1. Citation needed–all of the press coverage I have seen states that Mrs. Halappanavar decided it would be best to terminate when she realized the extent of the situation, and was told she could not until fetal death took place. If this is not correct, please provide your source.

      2. Yes, Irish law would have permitted the termination. Unfortunately, the hospital did not act on that, for various reasons which appear to have been ideological.

      3. I’m sure there has been ‘tons of testimony’ of the sort you describe, unfortunately it’s bullshit. You appear to have some fantasy that abortion is never necessary because, hey! C-section! You can just pop that baby out of there and wrap it up in a snuggly blanket! Reality check: Mrs. Halappanavar’s pregnancy was at seventeen weeks. It would not have been possible to perform a c-section and save the child’s life. That’s still weeks away from the earliest possible point of fetal viability, and the mother was dying. So was the child. Please note, they were not hoping for fetal recovery, they were WAITING FOR FETAL DEATH to act to save the mother. It was a choice between losing one or both, and they opted for ‘both’.

      Sure, a c-section is ‘always a possibility’, in that you can cut into anyone’s uterus–you could even do a D&C on a woman who’s not pregnant through a c-section if you were crazy–but a fetus removed from the womb at seventeen weeks dying is a dead certainty, and that’s in the case of a healthy fetus, which this was not. (Also, a second trimester abortion does not take ‘days’ in an emergency situation. The issue here was being unable to take medical action for the mother until the fetal heartbeat stopped.)

      Savita Halappanavar’s case was one where, all your happy-clappy medical misinformation notwithstanding, an abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother. She died because she didn’t get one. The child was already doomed, and hospital staff let her die as well.

      You’re willfully ignorant, because you are listening to people who are assuring you that what you want to be true IS true. I’d like to believe that there’s never a time when you have to end a pregnancy to save a woman’s life either. That would be a nice world. But we don’t live there.