Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.Read that again. Because some people still believe a book of Bronze Age myths curated by a group of old men in funny hats has some relevance today, supposed medical professionals were willing to leave a pregnant woman in agony for three days before watching her die. Odd how that happened only a month after Ireland's finest minds assured us all that abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of the mother.
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.
The dead foetus was removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on the 28th.
Michael Nugent provides a good rundown of how things got to this point in Ireland. Apparently over there the church doesn't even have to maintain a veneer of neutrality and can openly try to shape public policy. In fact, Bishop John Fleming reminded us all on Tuesday that our bodies are not our own and we shouldn't try to exert control over them lest we make the Baby Jesus cry.
For those who view life through the lens of their Christian faith, our bodies are sacred; temples of the Holy Spirit, created in the image of God and redeemed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, our bodies are not our own to do with them what we will. Our bodies come from God, are created in God’s image and destined for eternal life with him in heaven. This is our faith and this is what distinguishes us from those who do not share our faith.What a bunch of horseshit. Human beings are just supposed to stand aside and let others suffer because we wouldn't want to alter God's work?
Almost as galling (and sadly predictable) is the rush by politicians to deny any role in generating a climate of fear and admonish anyone daring to use the episode for "other purposes." In short: Fuck them. A pregnant woman died a preventable death in a supposedly first-world country for want of medical care. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. It's especially disappointing from Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who last year showed commendable personal and political bravery in calling out the Vatican for undermining Irish investigations into sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy.
Why again is the Catholic Church considered a positive force in the world? Think of all the children who were raped, all the disease spread by its refusal to allow contraceptives, all the people whose lives are worse off because of the church's efforts to keep them poor, pregnant and praying -- all because a bunch of old, mostly white men insisted it was in keeping with The One True Faith.
It can be difficult to find the words to express one's anger in times like these, so maybe it's best to do so in song. Take it away, Tim.