Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Ireland, was refused an abortion during a complicated miscarriage at 17 weeks because the fetus — unviable though it was — still had a heartbeat. When abortion was the only recourse to save the mother’s life, the doctors refused, telling her and her husband “this is a Catholic country”. The abortion was finally performed after the baby died two whole days later, but it was too late for Savita. As a direct result of that delay, she died of septicemia. She would have survived if the pregnancy had been terminated at the first sign of complication. Hell, she could have been saved if doctors had simply prioritized the heartbeat of the viable human being over the unviable one.
People around these parts have vented their frustrations already. Brianne reinforces the fact that atheism intersects reproductive rights (and thus human rights — reproductive freedom is not only a feminist ideal, but a human rights one!). Ophelia lays the blame for the needless death squarely at the feet of Catholicism. Zinnia decries the theocratic dystopian nightmare the country has evidently become. Avicenna wonders why the country is so faithful despite the innumerable Catholic pedophilia and abuse scandals in the country. Dana points out that the Catholics ignored one entity with a heartbeat in favour of another, for no ready reason. But Stephanie nails that reason — the doctors, being good Catholics, let Savita die because she was failing at her one duty: making babies.
I barely have anything I can add to this collective howl of outrage except, maybe, a bitter and jaded sigh. And a request of adherents.
This kind of thing will happen again and again, anywhere that religion has short-circuited people’s empathy and anywhere Catholicism in particular has gained a foothold. I know, others have their own pet hated religions, and I’m not saying any of their reasons for disliking their particular religions are invalid, but I just don’t personally get the same sense that their participants are self-righteous, self-satisfied fucks with completely broken moral compasses the way I generally do with Catholicism. Maybe it’s because I was brought up in it, with northern New Brunswick being so predominantly Roman Catholic, owing to its heavy French Acadian population. Most people tend to put higher priority on things they’ve personally experienced. So maybe there are truly worse religions. This one still has earned a special place in my loathing.
It’s all too easy to blame the religion itself and absolve the lay believers of any responsibility. Catholic adherents ignore the proscriptions against contraception and most consider it morally acceptable and practice safe sex anyway. So these practitioners only serve to inflate the religion’s numbers unjustifiably, increasing the status and importance of the leaders who use the Bible to create absolutely reprehensible and inhumane campaigns against contraception and abortion even at great human cost.
If you’re still a Catholic, despite all the damage the religion does to your friends and family and fellow practitioners, and despite you not believing in all Catholicism’s tenets yourself, then you are part of the problem. It is a rare occasion when I will extend blame for religion’s ills to simple believers in the religion, but if you do not act against these travesties of justice perpetrated on your fellow human beings in your God’s name, then you are morally bankrupt.
Yes. You. Personally.
Get out. Starve the evil and unholy Catholic church of its believers. Keep believing in your God if you must, but stop supporting a corrupt human enterprise so obviously designed to increase worldwide misery while its top men live in a golden palace — a monument to greed that should offend any God that might exist even while it steals his name.
We’ll talk about that whole believing in God thing later. For now, just get the hell out of the self-evidently evil organization pretending to represent your deity. Please. For all our sakes.