(CNN) -- Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws are under fire after an Indian woman living there died after being refused an abortion last month.
Savita Halappanavar, 31, went into a hospital on October 21, complaining of back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time.
The doctors who examined her told her she was having a miscarriage but denied her an abortion even though she was in extreme pain, her husband has said. Halappanavar died at the hospital, leading lawmakers to call for an investigation into what role abortion laws may have played in her death.
"They knew they couldn't help the baby. Why did they not look at the bigger life?" her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, told the Irish Times.
Halappanavar was told that the miscarriage would be over in a matter of hours, said Kitty Holland, who reported the story for the Irish Times.
But the hours kept ticking and Halappanavar remained in terrible pain, so her husband asked doctors to expedite the miscarriage by carrying out an abortion.
Doctors at Galway University Hospital said that as long as the fetal heartbeat could be felt, the law prevented them from ending the pregnancy, Holland said. Halappanavar died of septicemia, or a blood infection, after three days in the hospital.
"Tuesday morning, came back and said, 'Sorry, can't help you. It's a Catholic country. Can't help you. It's a Catholic team.' So, Savita said that she was not a Catholic. She is Hindu, so why impose the law of the land on her?" her husband said.
The death led to protests, and top Irish lawmakers are asking whether the law needs to be changed.
Read the rest here.
Submitted for your approval: a classic case of why a woman's health should be entrusted to her and her doctor and particularly why outside opinions should NOT be in evidence. That this happened in Ireland, which up until recently has all but been a de-facto theocracy, illustrates this issue all the better. Once again, a doctor or team of doctors was confronted with a situation where only one life could be saved but wasn't because religion took precedence over medical knowledge, training, and common sense.
But more than that, this is an instance where one system of belief and morality was superimposed on a party not involved with or subscribed to that system. For those who wish to assert that their beliefs give them license to deny others treatment, I suggest they look hard at the above example. Are such people willing to be responsible for the lives their mistaken beliefs will impact?
Religion in no ways helps the process of curing or healing and too often impedes those processes, sometimes fatally. It has no place in the institution of medicine and deserves to be REMOVED, the sooner the better.
Hey, I live in Ireland, we're all totally disgusted by this incident. Here's an Irish Atheist's take on the whole thing http://www.michaelnugent.com/2012/11/14/tragedy-shame-and-outrage-a...
We had a vigil of around 2,000 at the Irish Parliament last night where a call was made for an international day of action next Wednesday. This will hopefully include pickets/vigils at Irish Embassy's around the world. I know that America is a bit too big for everyone to get to the Embassy but maybe citys with active feminist or secular groups that want to do something can go to where protests are usually held in their cities and do something similar.
For anyone else from Ireland we've a protest on this Saturday at 4pm in Dublin. https://www.facebook.com/events/243742145755096/
An absolute tragedy, I think we need a big campaign for choice in Ireland now to make sure this never happens again.
Wow, thanks for the excellent article, Rita. It's great to know that there has been a considerable outcry in Ireland about this issue and that people are standing up to the church. The shame is that I suspect the church won't budge on this issue and will likely wind up becoming more petulant about it as it also becomes more irrelevant. This is what absolutism gets them.
I appreciate your input here. Thank you!
But what ye expect from a place that only last decade allowed divorce! Makes the middle eastern countries seem like women's paradise!
Contrary to some opinions, Ireland is a great place. I've been there about 7 times, and enjoyed every single minute I spent there. Even been to Ulster, in the North; Enniskillen, Belfast, and Donaghadee. Though most of my visits were in the Republic. I can't think of a more open, friendly, and hospitable people than the Irish.
The only drawback is, as Loren said, the government is a de facto Catholic theocracy. I suppose this comes from years of brutal English oppression of anyone of the Catholic faith, and ethnic bigotry by the English toward the Irish in general. I can't help but wonder if this unholy marriage (every pun intended) between church and state isn't more of a reaction to the centuries of that oppression.
Can't remember where I heard the line, though I think it may have been in the movie The Wind That Shakes The Barley. And I'm paraphrasing here. "Why do we want to trade the tyranny of London for the tyranny of Rome?"
I've been to Ireland three times myself, Pat, and had a great time each time I was there. Still, I'm a man, and I'll need an abortion of any kind about the same time that pigs fly. But for female Irish citizens who have to put up with this kind of ignorant BS, I would think that the incident reported above should be the last straw. The reaction and protests which Rita noted in her comment are an appropriate response, which I hope will change the mind of the Irish government if not that of the Irish church.
The saddest part of all this is that it took Savita's death to wake people up to what their laws actually meant.
I entirely agree that Rita's comments, and the reactions to this travesty, are more than appropriate. And, the reactions of many Irish to the Christian Brothers scandal (the systematic rape and torture of young Irish boys by that particular wing of the cult) was also appropriate. Formal excommunication of the church under Canon Law. In fact, I got a copy of the forms from Ireland and did it myself. The number in Ireland that were leaving panicked the church so bad, they changed the law on people getting out.
The problem, as I see it, is with the Oirechtas (Irish Parliament). Until the people themselves force them to throw off the shackles, or "Tyranny" of Rome, like they did that of London, this type of BS will, unfortunately, continue.
I wonder how these same people would think if Sharia Law were imposed on them... I bet tunes of "can't help you, it's the law" would change rather quickly if the "law" were causing them pain and suffering based on a set of doctrines they didn't even believe in.
The sad fact is that Mosaic Law and Shariah have more in common than they have in difference. Worse, the bible says NOTHING about abortion, despite dicta ex cathedra to the contrary. Denial of choice to women is just one more mechanism they use to control them in the name of some supposed "purity" standard.
I don't mean on this particular topic. I mean on any topic of "law" in which the views differ.
I saw this yesterday and I was absolutely disgusted. I could think of lots of things to say on the matter, but they're a bit obvious. The other replies here basically did the job.