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Independent Enquiry

An independent external expert in obstetrics and gynaecology is to be appointed to the team investigating the circumstances surrounding the death a month ago of Savita Halappanavar and her unborn child.

Meanwhile I, an 80 year old man, have been taken aback, nay astounded, by the emotional and vitriolic language, based on media reports of the sad event, used in many posts on LJ.   I append some phrases:

"I recognise state mandated murder when I see it",   "the hospital and the nation that sanctioned and sanction such malfeasance", "it seems there was more than an element of racism in play too", "it was either medical malpractice due to the doctor's incompetence or deliberate refusal to terminate a pregnancy on personal religious grounds, which in my view would lead to a charge of manslaughter", "cold blooded state mandated murder as efficient as if they'd put a pistol to her head and pulled the trigger", "a state that despises the rights of the female sex", "the stuff of the worst sort of tinpot tyranny", "Nor is this the first time that said Catholic church has made it clear that they care nothing for the life of a seriously ill woman who happens to be carrying an unviable fetus", "the doctors would have been working under the restrictions of bad law", "The actions were based on a religiously-based law that caused this woman's death", "Abortion was made illegal because of the authoritarian view that women are incapable of making decisions about their own reproductive health", "The issue here is the church's control, via the government, of personal freedom", "one ~can~ be certain that the influence of the Roman Catholic Church contributed to the failure (or reluctance) of Savita Halappanavar's doctors to act promptly in her best interests".


yes, i daresay you as an 80-year-old man may have been so privileged and protected as to be able to find this language shocking. as a 44-year-old hospital worker, i find most of these statements quite reasonable.

or why do *you* think she didn't have had the dang non-viable thing removed from her body tout-suite?
In the strictly Catholic point of view, "non-viable" is not "dead".
As an American, I can balance (or compromise, if you will) my Catholic belief
with simple and sensible jurisprudence.
If the activitiy of a renter threatens the life of a property owner,
for example, the renter must be removed, by force, if necessary.
That the renter is unborn and the property owner a mother
does not change this.
If one person threatens the life of another,
it is the threatened person who must be protected from the person posing that threat.
Labelling one person "innnocent" and the other "pregnant" does not change this.
i don't think catholicism and medicine are a good mixture at all, and worse when forced upon the body of a woman whose religion it ain't.

my husband's a catholic. my body remains my body.
Yeah, it's one of those issues that puts a bucket of sand in any jar of vaseline.
When the independent investigation team publish their report, of course I will accept its findings fully.
I'm sorry to be difficult,
but it woud be best to wait until you've seen the report
before you decide to accept it.
An independent report is just that, no more, no less.
Quite true,
but just as one should read a contract
before signing it,
one should read a report
before believing it.
That is our problem, isn't it? Too many people make judgements on media reports without checking them. RTE and the BBC have found that out to their cost recently!
an independent report is some document written by some human being who is just as potentially fallible, bigoted, insightful, clever, stupid, or anything else as any other individual. i'll buy it if it makes sense.
I am a 60-year-old mother of two and grandmother of three and I firmly believe that abortion should be available to all women, not just in cases where the mother's life is threatened. Of course I am not a Catholic, not even a Christian any more, so religion does not enter into my reasoning.

However, this doesn't mean that I would like there to be more abortions. I would actually like the abortion rate to be as near to zero as possible due to women having contraception freely available along with the knowledge of how to use it effectively and the confidence to refuse sex to any partners that refuse to cooperate.

Unfortunately, this ideal does not apply in the UK nor in Ireland, so women are pestered, coerced or even forced to have unprotected sex when they didn't want to. Should this mean that they must be forced to bear and raise a child they didn't want? The Catholic church says they should. I believe they shouldn't and that an early abortion saves a lot of misery for both mother and child.
I appreciate the great problem involved but I think the Church is mainly interested in babies being aborted unnecessarily e.g. because it is the wrong sex, or because it does not suit the lifestyle of its parents, etc.
The church is also heavily invested in the number of churchgoers increasing, and in maintaining its power over them.

The Irish women I and my flatmates used to pick up at Victoria coach station and take to stay in our spare room prior to and after their abortions weren't aborting babies because they were the wrong sex. They were aborting babies because they already had more children than they could cope with, or because they were little more than children themselves, and in both cases too bloody poor to have anything as grandiose as a lifestyle choice.
Yes, it is sad that it should come to this. But surely there must be some solution other than aborting a viable baby.
The easiest way to start reducing abortions is giving women easy access to reliable contraception, but I get the impression from Catholic institutions in the States that it isn't considered a moral solution.
You're seriously surprised that people would have strong feelings about this situation?
No, I have them myself, but generalizations and vitriol don't help.
You may find that a lot of the most emotional posting on this subject are coming from American.

If Ireland sees herself as a Catholic country, and Catholicism is part of the national identity, and if abortion is illegal because of this (as was divorce, until recently, if I am not mistaken), I have no problem with that. How Ireland chooses to deal with this stuff is how Ireland chooses to deal with it. Americans, however, are right now deeply engaged in a war, and I don't mean in the Middle East. Two factions are in heated battle for control of the U.S., and abortion is one of the issues that define that war, and racism is another. The battleground just temporarily spilled over into Ireland. I apologize for that.
Interesting viewpoint
Ireland may wish to deal with this in her own way. However Ireland stands in breach of European Court of Human Rights judgements on her restrictions in abortion. As a member of the EU Ireland cannot indefinitely ignore the ECtHR rulings however much she would wish to do so.
We have long been told that it was the Catholic Church who influenced the law in Ireland. Who now dictates?
In many things as a member state of the EU she is bound by European Law. In others, including access to abortion, she is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights.
From the information I have been able to glean around this story, my understanding is that Irish law does allow for termination of an unviable foetus in such cases as this, and this allowance is used reasonably regularly.

With this in mind, I think the doctor in question was negligent, but whether that negligence was wilful or through incompetance I don't know. If it was wilful, then of course all possible reasons for it need to be explored, including possible racism or religious zealotry.

I will say that this case has shocked and horrified me, but I can't imagine, sadly, that such medical circumstances are exactly unheard of.. therefore, as we have not heard of this happening before it must not be an endemic failure of the Irish obstetric system, but a disturbing failure of this particular medical team, the reasons for which must be investigated. I hope that the people involved have been suspended from practice until such time as those investigations are complete.
Thank you for your contribution.