Sifting the Lies for Truth: More on What May Have Happened to Savita Halappanavar

The following excerpt is taken from MercatorNet. I’m posting it with some trepidation, since it contains allegations in what has become a political tug of war.

My advice is to not take this article or any other article about what happened to Ms Halappanavar too literally. There are too many people with agendas who have access to the press to make sense of the claims and counter-claims. That said, I will say that the kind of collusion between the press and abortion advocates described in this article has happened here in this country and has resulted in the public being deliberately manipulated and misinformed. The attack on Komen Breast Institute when it tried to stop funding Planned Parenthood is a recent example.

I sincerely hope that the net result from Ms Halappanavar’s death will be clarification of the legal situation concerning abortion in Ireland at whatever level that needs to be done. I also hope that those who want to use her death as a pry bar to open the doorway to abortion on demand in Ireland fail in their work.

The MercatorNet article says in part:

What we do know is that on October 21 Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, visited Galway University Hospital suffering from back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant. She was diagnosed and was told that she was having a miscarriage. She requested a termination – but, as they had diagnosed, the termination had already begun naturally.

Irish law – and the Irish Constitution – prohibits the procedure of abortion of unborn babies in the womb but it does not prohibit evacuation of the womb where the process of a miscarriage has already begun – or where a baby in the womb has already died. Such procedures are regularly carried out in Irish hospitals. Miscarriage can, however, be wrongly diagnosed and surgical evacuation offered when the baby is still alive and healthy, as Breda O’Brien noted in an Irish Times op-ed last Saturday. One such case prompted an official inquiry two years ago in which 24 similar cases were examined.

In Savita’s case surgical intervention is evidently what should have happened. It did not. Her pain continued for three days and she eventually died of septicaemia. Two investigations are now in progress as to why she died – one by the hospital itself and one by the Irish health authority.

What has been widely reported is that doctors denied her request “for an abortion” because they said that they detected a foetal heartbeat and that Irish law ruled out a termination. Further reports say someone told Savita that this was because “Ireland is a Catholic country”. That such reasons would have been given for delaying the inducement is considered extraordinary by medical and non-medical Irish people alike. But they are equally dismayed by what they see as the callous manipulation of this situation by the abortion advocates before even the most basic investigation of the facts is carried out.

The manipulation of the situation is seen by many to be blatant and premeditated. The Irish Times, which has been campaigning for changes to Irish law on abortion for many years, had this story for some days before publishing it. Within hours of the story breaking a large demonstration by pro-choice activists had assembled outside the Irish parliament building. An email has now been leaked – the source as yet unknown – showing that news of the story was given in advance to these activists. The e-mail, dated Sunday, November 11, indicates that the Irish Choice Network knew the story was going to break. The Irish Times did not break the story publicly until November 14th.

The email told ICN members that “a major news story in relation to abortion access is going to break in the media early this coming week,” and it would be the pretext for a protest calling for abortion legislation outside the Dáil (Ireland’s parliament) on Wednesday. Members were asked to attend a meeting where they would have “more definite information around which we can make some collective decisions about how best to proceed.” (Read more here.)

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Irish Bishops Issue Statement About Death of Savita Halappanavar

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has released a statement concerning the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The statement, without edits or comments, is below.

The death of Mrs. Savita Halappanavar and her unborn child in University Hospital Galway on the 28 October last was a devastating personal tragedy for her husband and family. It has stunned our country. We share the anguish and sorrow expressed by so many at the tragic loss of a mother and her baby in these circumstances and we express our sympathy to the family of Mrs. Halappanavar and all those affected by these events.

In light of the widespread discussion following the tragic death of Mrs Halappanavar and her unborn baby, we wish to reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching. These were set out in our recently published Day for Life message on 7 October last, available on

– The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother. By virtue of their common humanity, a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred with an equal right to life.

– Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

– Whereas abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby and is gravely immoral in all circumstances, this is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby. Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction in practice while upholding the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby.

– Some would claim that the unborn baby is less human or less deserving of life. Advances in genetics and technology make it clear that at fertilization a new, unique and genetically complete human being comes into existence. From that moment onwards each of us did not grow and develop into a human being, but grew and developed as a human being.

With many other religious and ethical traditions we believe in upholding the equal and inalienable right to life of a mother and her unborn child in our laws and medical practice. This helps to ensure that women and babies receive the highest standard of care and protection during pregnancy.

Indeed, international statistics confirm that Ireland, without abortion, remains one of the safest countries in the world in which to be pregnant and to give birth. This is a position that should continue to be cherished and strengthened in the interests of mothers and unborn children in Ireland.

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