The Beatriz Fiasco: Playing Roulette with Women’s Lives


In my last post about the inquest into Savita Halappanavar's death, I mentioned a similar story then unfolding in Latin America: a pregnant 22-year-old woman, known in the media only as Beatriz, was five months pregnant and gravely ill, suffering from lupus and kidney failure. Allowing the pregnancy to continue would almost certainly mean her death. What's more, Beatriz's fetus had anencephaly, a fatal defect in which the neural tube fails to close properly and the fetus ends up without a brain. … [Read more...]

The Savita Inquest Concludes

Last month, the official inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar concluded. In a tragic irony, the jury delivered its verdict on the very date that would have been her fifth wedding anniversary.In my last post, I pessimistically predicted that the final report would take the anti-choice position that abortion should be forbidden until the woman is clearly dying and then blaming the doctors if they can't pull her back from the brink. To my surprise, that isn't what happened. Instead, … [Read more...]

The Savita Inquest

Last week in Ireland, the official inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar began with several days of testimony.So far, nothing has altered the basic sequence of events as we know them. Savita arrived at Galway University Hospital in October 2012, 17 weeks pregnant, with ruptured membranes and a dilated cervix, clear signs that a miscarriage was beginning. As ob/gyn Dr. Jen Gunter has said, "Her presentation should not have posed a diagnostic dilemma, not even for an intern." An open … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: April 14


• My wife Elizabeth is raising funds for the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, and has just one week left and less than $200 to raise to get to her goal of $1,000. Help out!• And if you need some motivation, anti-choicers are harassing and terrorizing the staff of the newly reopened family-planning clinic in Wichita once owned by the murdered Dr. George Tiller. One of them, David Leach from the group Army of God, calls the clinic's existence "a gauntlet thrown down by someone … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: International Women’s Day Edition


Yesterday was International Women's Day, so in honor of that, all the links in this week's roundup are feminist-themed. And there's a lot of news to cover:• Anita Sarkheesian of Feminist Frequency has released the first in her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series, exploring the cliche of the damsel in distress. (Hilariously, a group of "men's rights" advocates who solicited donations for a rebuttal video series appear to have taken the money and run.)• A brutal, poignant … [Read more...]

Fifty Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church


This article was originally published on AlterNet.Last year in Ireland, Savita Halappanavar died, and she shouldn't have. Savita was a 31-year-old married woman, four months pregnant, who went to the hospital with a miscarriage in progress that developed into a blood infection. She could easily have been saved by an abortion of the already-doomed fetus. Instead, her doctors did nothing, explaining that "this is a Catholic country," and left her to suffer in misery for days, only intervening … [Read more...]

The Increasing Problem of Religious Hospitals

The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.But as I wrote at the time, Savita's story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn't a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman's life can be saved by abortion, it's better to let two die than to save one.It's … [Read more...]

Bowling for Abortion Access


Since religious-right legislators continue to put insultingly ridiculous obstacles in the path of women seeking abortion - like the latest one, a proposed bill in South Dakota that would specify that the mandatory 72-hour waiting period wouldn't include weekends or holidays - we pro-choice people have to do what we can to make it easier for women to exercise that choice.That's why the National Network of Abortion Funds is holding its fourth annual Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, raising money … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: February 10


• No matter how many compromises the Obama administration offers, Catholic bishops just don't want people to have access to birth control.• Beliefnet is afraid of feminism, telling liberal Christian pastor and blogger Kristine Holmgren that she wasn't allowed to use the word in her header or her blog (at which point, to her credit, she broke ties with them).• Astrophysicists have calculated, on the basis of data from NASA's Kepler telescope, that six percent of red dwarf … [Read more...]

Questions for Pro-Lifers: The Results, Continued


Last month, I posed a list of questions to people who identify as pro-life. In the long comment thread which ensued, there were a fair number of people who stepped up to respond, both some who were traditionally religious as well as some who said they were atheists (but more about that later on). In this post and the previous one, I'll survey and discuss their answers.The Penalty for DoctorsThe large majority of people who answered this question, to no one's surprise I'm sure, said that d … [Read more...]