Savita Halappanavar’s Death

On several occasions I have been asked to explain my views on the intersection of atheism and reproductive freedom. Well here it is, isn’t it? From BBC News, the story of 31 year-old Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland on Sunday due to complications of pregnancy:

“On the Saturday night everything changed, she started experiencing back pain so we called into the hospital, the university hospital.”

He said she continued to experience pain and asked a consultant if she could be induced.

“They said unfortunately she can’t because it’s a Catholic country,” Mr Halappanavar said.

“Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her.

“But she said ‘I’m sorry, unfortunately it’s a Catholic country’ and it’s the law that they can’t abort when the foetus is live.”

This was a woman, and a family, and medical professionals who knew that aborting the pregnancy was the safest, sanest medical decision. This hospital stood by as Savita Halappanavar died slowly and painfully of septicemia. They refused to treat Savita as her her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, watched helplessly as her organs shut down one after another.

Because it’s a Catholic country.

According to the article, several investigations by different groups are underway.

UPDATE: There are several hashtags on Twitter that are following activism around Savita’s case: #Savita #RIPSavita. Here is a legislative action website. A protest is taking place tonight. A Candlelight Vigil is being held in Galway this weekend.

Savita Halappanavar’s Death
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12 thoughts on “Savita Halappanavar’s Death

  1. 2

    Did you see this part in the article, via a representative from an anti-abortion group:

    “Ireland’s laws protecting unborn babies do not pose a threat to women’s lives, according to the obstetricians and gynaecologists who care for women every day,”

    Tell that to Mr. Halappanavar, assholes.

  2. 3

    Honestly this should be treated like drunk driving causing death. They’re doing something reckless and gambling with the peoples lives and this time lost, someone died. I don’t care if that was driving drunk or waiting until the heart stops before treating someone its reckless endangerment causing death.

    At the very least laws need to change if not malpractice or manslaughter charges.

  3. 4

    According to the Irish Constitution a woman in a life-threatening situation can be given an abortion. This was the result of a 1992 court case where the Irish Supreme Court ruled abortions were justified to save the woman’s life. For twenty years the Dail has not passed any laws has not passed any laws implementing the court decision or the Constitutional amendment. That’s because of fear of a Catholic backlash. Maybe now the TDs will get off their arses and do what they should have done 20 years ago.

  4. 5

    […] Freethought Blogs: Pharyngula – It’s Time to Abort the Catholic Church Butterflies & Wheels – Over 140 Medical Professionals, Ireland Speaks Up, Doctors Weigh In, and numerous others. Zinnia Jones – This is what a Catholic country looks like Almost Diamonds – She Should Have Been Better at Making Babies A Million Gods – Faith and Begorrah Biodork – Savita Halappanavar’s Death […]

  5. 6

    Anyone want to bet on who the scapegoat will end up being? My vote goes to the lowest person on the chain possible, the doctor. They’ll avoid the political ramifications by throwing the doctors to the mob, saying “they didn’t follow what the law actually says.”
    The doctors will go down, nothing will change. Unless people get VERY angry.

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