Remember Savita

You may have heard about the death of Savita Halappanavar, who died  in Galway, Ireland on October 28th due to a preventable infection that resulted from a protracted miscarriage.

I’m at work now, so I’ll give you a quick round-up.

PZ Myers: It’s time to abort the Catholic Church.

Biodork: Savita Halappanavar’s death

A Million Gods: Faith and Begorrah

RH Reality Check: We are all Savita Halappanavar.

The most thorough coverage is from Michael Nugent.

Most of the links I just posted are from non-theist blogs, but even the post at the site dedicated to reproductive health issues frames the case as a matter of religious oppression.

The reason for that emphasis is in the answer Savita and her husband received from the hospital staff when they requested a medical termination of the non-viable pregnancy: “This is a Catholic country.”

That is not a scientifically or medically meaningful explanation. Mrs. Halappanavar was denied life-saving care because of laws based on Catholic beliefs. The fact that Savita was not Catholic did not save her from dying under Catholic rules. Of course, we all expect someone to follow the laws of the country in which they’ve decided to live. The doctors at University Hospital would not have escaped prosecution for providing an abortion simply because their patient was of a different religion than the majority of the country. That there is the problem: doctors in Ireland who care for pregnant women have to fear prosecution if they perform abortions, even to save their patients’ lives. If the law only makes sense from within a religious framework, then it is effectively forcing other people to live within someone else’s religion.

When those religion-based laws result in easily preventable deaths, one might even call it a violation of human rights. Savita could have recovered, gotten on with her life and had more babies. Instead, she was left to die of septicemia after days of horrible pain because “this is a Catholic country.”


7 thoughts on “Remember Savita

  1. This is so sad! I just continue to be befuddled at such archaic choices when we have the knowledge and the means to help women! There is no rhyme or reason for this.
    I was raised Catholic and I find it so sad that the religion in many places refuses to grow with the times. I left that aspect of my life decades ago; so sad that Savita could not have been elsewhere.

    • I guess she and her husband made a serious error in judgment in offering their highly-skilled services to Ireland. So many Anglophone countries where her life would have been saved.

  2. It is so scary that most of the Republican Party wants to bring us back to the dark ages like this in our country. I never had an abortion but when I got pregnant with my (unplanned) daughter discovered there was a medical problem with my then husband’s gene and if I were also a carrier the baby could have a problem. I was tested and was OK. If not I would have had an abortion rather then subject her to monthly blood transfusions and a life expectancy of 21 years.

    • Knowing what I do about the abortion statistics in our country, I don’t think even the GOP would want to make it impossible for a woman to have an abortion in a situation like the one you might have faced; they just want her to feel really bad about it.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me, that people do such horrible things in the name of religion. I’m not Christian, but having graduated from an all female, liberal arts, catholic college, I was required to study Catholcism, and the tenets of the religion. I seriously must have missed the part that says women must die for idiotic reasons. Right to Life people say every life is sacred, then how come that doesn’t include the mother’s life?

  4. I know, my sister lives in Dublin. It’s so ridiculous that a woman should die for no reason.

Comments are closed.