#Savita could have lived with her loss.

I’m still glued to the #Savita hashtag on Twitter. It’s a sickness.

While I was browsing through the Savita-related Tweets today, I came across someone Tweeting these…words.

I’m not going to link to the Tweets. I don’t want to bring further attention on this person’s Twitter account, and besides, the idea is not unique to her. I don’t want to pick on the user.

That never would have occurred to me.

The message is true but so obvious it contributes nothing but white noise. Of course Savita would have grieved her child if she’d survived. In fact, we don’t even need to speculate on the matter of how Savita “would have” felt if she’d walked out of that hospital, because we have her husband telling us how she DID feel about her miscarriage in the small window of time in which she was still alive. She knew her daughter wouldn’t make it, and she was devastated. She really wanted that baby, but she knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable. She knew it, the medical team knew it, so what did she do? She asked the doctors to terminate the pregnancy. Savita really wanted to be a mother, but even more than that, she wanted her cervix to close up before she developed a life-threatening infection.

Then we have this:

It’s not the “baby” that’s under the attack. It’s the hospital, the medical team, and the laws.

But…seriously? No one is accusing the “baby” of anything. She was going to die no matter what, and the medical team knew it. “Defense” is a totally inapplicable concept to the fetus that died along with Savita.

However, when we’re talking about what someone would have said to Savita about her miscarriage if she’d survived: actually, I can picture myself saying to someone like her, “I’m very sorry for your loss, but I’m glad you’re okay.” I have friends who’ve experienced miscarriages. I had a conversation with one such friend about a year ago, soon after her loss. She was upset, and I was upset for her, but I was also happy to see that she had made it through the experience with minimal physical injury.

Why would I say such a thing? Why would I tell my friend that it’s good that she’s recovering so well?

Because her life does not forfeit all meaning when she fails to bring a fetus to live birth.

And that brings us to this…fascinating…idea.

I need booze.

 

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

Do you mean to say that it’s better that Savita died, because now she doesn’t have to mourn her pregnancy loss? Because that is…pretty much what the Tweet above suggests.

When Savita found out that she was losing her 17-week-gestating daughter, you know what she wanted? She wanted a prompt termination to protect her own life and health. She asked the doctors to evacuate her uterus so that the process of losing her fetus would not put her life in danger. She didn’t want to die along with her unborn daughter. Savita wanted to live with her grief.

She wanted to live.

But, because “this is a Catholic country,” they refused to extract the fetus before her heart stopped beating, and as a result of that delay, Savita died after days of horrible pain.

So, tell me: does that make her daughter any less dead?

Is the loss of Savita’s unborn little girl somehow less tragic because Savita isn’t around to grieve?

I have seen what happens when women get the appropriate medical care during miscarriages. You know what happened to all my friends who suffered pregnancy losses and lived to tell about it? They got on with their lives. Nearly all of them have since had children. I held and kissed one of those post-miscarriage babies less than a week ago. He’s beautiful and perfect in every way, and his parents are thrilled to have him. None of those children would have been born if their mothers had been left to die of sepsis from incomplete miscarriages.

Savita wanted to be a mother, and if her life had been saved with a prompt termination, she could have still had children. Her daughter was beyond help, but Savita still had a life to lead. Her mother now has to live without her.

Savita’s death was not a coincidence.

In today’s (justified) outrage over the medical neglect and death of Savita Halappanavar, there is a little talking point going around that the cause of Savita’s death was a separate issue from denial of abortion care. The question has become prevalent enough that Jodi Jacobson tackled it today at RHRC. An example of the idea is this tweet, which says:

septicemia seems to have been the killer of poor #savita not the baby or lack of termination. lack of treatment seems to be the issue

If development of septicemia is unrelated to pregnancy or premature/protracted conclusion thereof, this idea makes sense.

So, what was it that actually happened to Savita?

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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.”