What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 15, 2012

Call it a human sacrifice

Savita Halappanavar
"Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual (ritual killing). Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history. Victims were typically ritually killed in a manner that was supposed to please or appease gods, spirits or the deceased, for example as a propitiatory offering, or as a retainer sacrifice when the King's servants are killed in order for them to continue to serve their master in the next life. "

- Wikipedia

Savita Halappanavar's life was sacrificed to comply with Catholic religious doctrine which demands that termination of a pregnancy never be permitted -- including to save the life of the woman. Via The Irish Times:
Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
Savita was neither Catholic or Irish. Think it can't happen here? Think again. This same view was espoused by the Republican Party Platform which offered no exceptions for abortions. Now, Ohio wants to put it into practice. Via Think Progress:
During this year’s lame duck session, Ohio legislators are planning to revive HB 125, a so-called “heartbeat” bill that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can first occur as early as five or six weeks, before many women may even know they’re pregnant. The proposed legislation represents the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States. If HB 125 is passed, it would criminalize all abortions after the emergence of a fetal heartbeat without allowing even the narrowest exceptions in potential cases of rape, incest, or the mental health of the woman.

Even if Ohio’s bill includes some kind of provision that would allow women to seek abortions in life-threatening situations, Halappanavar’s death points to the fact that health risks aren’t always immediately apparent. A 1992 Supreme Court ruling in Ireland amended the country’s abortion ban to include an exception in cases where the woman’s life is in danger, but Irish hospitals don’t always know how far that medical exception can stretch. They are often reluctant to provide women with abortion services unless the situation is very clearly life-threatening — and for women like Halappanavar, that can already be too late.

And in cases where the fetus is not expected to survive — when women like Halappanavar are undergoing a miscarriage, or when doctors discover fatal fetal defects — anti-abortion legislation is often murky, even in this country. In Arizona, where a stringent abortion ban outlaws the procedure after just 20 weeks, women who discover fatal defects that will not allow their fetus to survive are forced to carry the fetus to term anyway.
In other words, a doctor would have to wait until a woman is literally dying before intervening. Has she lost enough blood? Is the infection so pervasive that she may not recover? Because . . . because . . . of a religious concept of a soul which presents itself at conception but is stained by sin because a woman talked to an evil serpent? Because . . . because . . . How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

This is what happens when religion is allowed to be the state. An intelligent, beautiful, young woman's life is sacrificed for the fetus who is already dying inside her.

Both are dead.
"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance," Walsh said. "There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing."

- Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.)


spork_incident said...

Yes, well, some bishops get to continue feeling smug. And isn't that the important thing?


Heir to the Throne said...

Will this be like the Jena 6/Duke Lacrosse rape hoax. Most of the progressive talking points were proved false but the left still views them as proving the narrative.
Medical Malpractice and Treating Tragedies as Political Footballs

It's been pointed out to me that according to the reports, Savita was admitted to hospital with a miscarriage underway, her cervix being open from Sunday, but that antibiotics were only brought into play on Tuesday night, a full two days later; it's as though she spent two days there with an open wound. Again, I'm no doctor and would appreciate if someone could clarify this, but given that this was a case of death from infection, it seems to me to have been utterly egregious medical negligence from the start, and nothing whatsoever to do with the law, medical guidelines, or religious principles.

Maria Lupinacci said...

First, it is unknown whether she had an infection when she first went into the hospital. What is known is that "A death as a result of an infection during a miscarriage is a rare event in the developed world." What is also known is that she was already leaking amniotic fluid and she was dilated. The longer she remained dilated, the more likely an infection would occur. (Source here)

Second, the link you site states (in either the article or comments) that the standard of care in such a case of a failed/partial miscarriage is delivery of the fetus. This is correct. However, delivery at 17 weeks would be considered an abortion as there is no documented case of a 17-week old fetus surviving (21 weeks is the earliest) and so would run afoul of Irish law.

Third, providing a woman with antibiotics alone would not have ensured survival of the woman. The proper standard of care is delivery (evacuation/abortion/D&E/call it what you will) AND antibiotics. The woman's body is already rejecting the fetus. At this point it is rejecting dying tissue and the longer the miscarriage, the likelier the chance of infection. Think of it this way: If you have a bullet or even a splinter with an infection, you don't just treat that with antibiotics -- the bullet, splinter, or in this case, dying fetus must be removed in order to best recover from the infection. This option was denied this woman for days. The fact that a termination was delayed for any reason is malpractice.

Fourth, while Ireland in theory has an abortion exception for life of the woman, it is murky at best: "In December 2011, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland's strict law forbidding abortions even in dire circumstances violated the right to life of Mrs. C, the pregnant woman suffering from cancer. Based on arguments heard in that case, the 17 judges of the European court arrived at an 11 to 6 verdict charging that Ireland was wrong to keep the legal situation unclear and that the Irish government "had offered no credible explanation for its failure." Pursuant to that decision, a panel was formed and was supposed to deliver recommendations this past summer to finally clarify the abortion law, but the government still had not acted."