Savita Halappanavar’s Death

The baby killers are jumping on the case of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar–an Indian woman who died in Ireland from blood poisoning. You can read about the case here.

This terrible death was not caused by anti-abortion legislation in Ireland. The law there allows for abortion to save the life of the mother. This woman died as a result of medical incompetence and not following the already established medical guidelines in Ireland. They could have taken procedures to save the mother’s life which were within the law and also (for those who are interested in the subtleties of moral theology) did not contravene Catholic moral teaching. For a full explanation read my friend William Oddie here. Tim Stanley also clarifies the issue here.

Rather than cynically exploiting this sad case perhaps the pro aborts should meditate on this case of the Philadelphia abortionist Philip Gosnell who not only killed and maimed women, but killed live born children AND made over a million a year doing so.

Those who are pro abortion should then ask themselves which is worse — the case of Savita Halappanavar where a woman and her baby were both lost in a place where abortion is illegal or the case of Gosnell’s abortion mill where numerous women were maimed for life, killed and countless babies were slaughtered–all of that in a country were abortion was legal.

 

  • Lynda

    Thank you, Fr Longenecker, for pointing out what’s going on – the disgusting, cynical, dishonest coordinated abuse of a tragic death to aid the pro-abortionists push for the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. And all done with the active collusion of the pro-abortion Media. Much of the Media in Ireland has been using its position to push abortion in association with its political associates. Ireland excels in maternal medicine, in obstetrics, and has had the lowest maternal death rate in the world for about 30 years now.

    • Elizabeth

      Lynda, you’re a woman. Do you think any woman should be forced to give birth against her will, in the case of rape or incest? Or in any case? Forced to give birth? What happened to the babies in Ireland when women couldn’t go to England for abortions was that children of unmarried mothers were put in ‘orphanages’ even though they weren’t orphans. Then the babies were sold to Americans and sometimes sold on again. This wasn’t that long ago. The Catholic Church doesn’t care about children once they are born. And Catholics don’t seem to care that their priests raped children and the hierarchy covered it up. These are very bad sins but, for some reason, abortion is worse? If Jesus was here now I think he’d be for a woman’s right not to be forced to have a baby.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Let’s discuss things objectively for a moment:

        You write: What happened to the babies in Ireland when women couldn’t go to England for abortions was that children of unmarried mothers were put in ‘orphanages’ even though they weren’t orphans.

        If this is true have you thought that perhaps they were called ‘orphanages’ to spare the child the ignominy of being illegitimate? Would not that have been a kind thing to do? You said Catholic don’t care about children after they are born, and yet you tell us about the ‘orphanages’ for illegitimate children in Ireland. You can’t have it both ways

        Then the babies were sold to Americans and sometimes sold on again. This wasn’t that long ago.

        What evidence do you have for this statement?

        The Catholic Church doesn’t care about children once they are born.

        See above.

        And Catholics don’t seem to care that their priests raped children and the hierarchy covered it up.

        Nonsense. Most Catholics are horrified by these crimes, and the Catholic Church has now put in place the strictest and most thoroughgoing child protection policies of any public organization.

        These are very bad sins but, for some reason, abortion is worse? If Jesus was here now I think he’d be for a woman’s right not to be forced to have a baby.

        We are simply saying that a terrible crime is not made better by killing the victim.

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  • Karen

    Ah, yes, her death isn’t the fault of the church that made a saint out of a woman who died by refusing medical treatment when she was pregnant and which continually advocates for laws banning anything that interferes with making as many women as humanly possible constantly pregnant. It was the fault of doctors who failed to follow nonexistent medical guidelines. Remember that before she developed septicemia, it was only herhealth that was in danger, and we all know that no woman should have an abortion to save her health. Once the infection became clearly life-threatening, there was nothing the doctors could do. This is the problem with “save the life of the mother” exemptions — it is often only possible to save her by acting before the life-threatening condition actually occurs. Once they’ve waiting for, say, blood clots to form and break loose, there is no possible treatment, but treating her before the clots form is only saving her health and not important.

    • James

      “the church that made a saint out of a woman who died by refusing medical treatment when she was pregnant”

      Karen, what do you think of a women who gave her life to save her young child from, say, drowning? Do you feel contempt for her like you do St. Gianna? Because it’s the same thing.

      • Karen

        Saving an actual drowning child is not the same as dying for a pregnancy, because the drowning child is an actual, real person. Assuming for a minute that there is some kind of similarity then 1. is the woman a good swimmer and a trained lifesaver? 2. If not, is there anyone who is a good swimmer available? If so, then Mom needs to stay out of the way and let the experts do their jobs.

        If you think Gianna Molla’s death was justified, you must also agree that a woman should save her frozen embryos from a fire and allow her actual 3-year-old to die. Gianna Molla had two living children; they were her responsibility. One of them even died of neglect by nuns at age 6 because Dad shipped the poor girl off to a convent, something that would never have been necessary if his wife had done her job and lived.

        • savvy

          But Karen, its’ true that this was a choice she did not have to make, but it was her choice. Why are you now opposed to choice?

          • Mal

            Yes, by her stark disapproval of Gianna’s CHOICE to keep her pregnancy, Karen has proven herself to be more pro-abortion that pro-choice.

  • http://politicsproseotherthings.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel

    Actually, no, you are incorrect. The law doesn’t allow for abortion to save a woman’s life in Ireland. Because of a Supreme Court case, its not illegal either, but there is no explicit law allowing it.

    • Elizabeth

      That’s absolutely correct Nathaniel. What has anyone got to fear about putting something into law that is already in guidelines? Everyone would be much safer if there was actual law.

  • Columba William

    Nathaniel – interventions to save a woman’s life are standard medical practice here in Ireland. There are Medical Council guidelines governing this issue. This case has nothing to do with abortion.

    Karen – at any stage of this process the doctors could have intervened to end the pregnancy. No law or moral code prevented this. For some unknown (clinical?) reason they decided not to.

    • Karen

      The fetus nada heartbeat, and the hospital understood Irish law to prohibit them for doing anything to interfere with the pregnancy before the heartbeat stopped naturally. The Ohio legislature is debating a law that explicitly bans anything that deliberately stops the fetal heartbeat. If you support this kind of legislation, at least be honest and admit that you agree that dead women is a perfectly acceptable result.

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        Women die through abortion. Check out the record of Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia.

      • savvy

        Karen-There is no such law. The doctors were not following the right guidelines. It’s a case of malpractise, rather than abortion.

        • Karen

          The Irish law was interpreted by their highest court to require an exception to save the mother’s life. The parliament then failed to actually enact the guidelines for doctors to make that exception enforceable, because loosening the abortion ban in any manner earns the ire of the Catholic hierarchy. So, there was a theoretical exception that had never been explained or enacted. No, guys, her death is on the heads of the Catholic bishops and their obsession with ever-more-restrictive abortion bans.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            On who’s head is the death and mutilation of several women and the murder of countless newborn babies at the hands of Kermit Gosnell? Everyone who’s pro choice?

          • Fishmonger

            Hi Karen. Actually the 1992 X Case ruling, to which you are alluding, only concerned extending the existing law to allow termination of pregnancy where the risk to the mother’s life was through suicide. That’s the exception that hasn’t been legislated for yet. Physical/medical threats to the mother’s life (as in Savita’s case), rather than psychological threats, formed no part of that ruling.

            It’s always been the case in Ireland that doctors could induce early delivery to save the mother, even at a stage where the baby would be too premature to survive. Again, this has never been seen to conflict with the Irish Constitution, because the direct killing of the child is not the intent of the procedure and, if anything can be done to save the child, it will always be done in such cases.

          • Carys Birch

            Fr. Longenecker, I don’t understand the comparison. Some people are saying that because Savita was did not have an abortion (or induction, depending on your perspective) she died. This is horrifically tragic. But nobody is saying it means everybody should always have abortions.

            You’re saying because some women had abortions under Mr. Gosnell they died. This is also horrifically tragic. And you’re using it to say that nobody should ever have abortions.

            True the subject matter is the same (loosely) but that doesn’t make them directly comparable – unless I’ve misunderstood your argument. It reminds me the sloppy but all too common internet debate tactic of throwing “but HITLER did [insert bad thing here]” into conversations to which Hitler is not otherwise relevant. Usually just an emotional throwaway argument designed to change the subject.

          • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

            The pro abortion lobby are using Savita’s death to push for legalized abortion. The argument being that if abortion were legal Savita would not have died. My point about Gosnell is that making abortion legal does not stop horrific injuries and deaths of women.

          • savvy

            Karen,

            Do you understand the principle of double effect?

            Abortions are legal in Ireland to save the life of the mother. And this IS permitted by the church. The doctors simply had not clue, what they were doing.

            For example, if they induced the woman, she would have still lost the child, but would have survived. This would be the unintended consequence, rather than the intended one.

            The doctors did not have to wait for the fetus’s heartbeat to stop.

            You are wrong about this one.

  • Lynda

    Abortion (the intentional killing of a child in utero) does not and cannot ever save any life. It directly kills the baby and risks the life and health of the mother, often causing death and permanent injury. Abortion is killing innocent defenceless baby in his mother’s womb – it is not medicine. When a woman’s life is in danger, she needs medicine. When a pregnant woman’s life is in danger, she needs medicine too. Medicine may or may not be able to save a woman from a life-threatening condition in certain circumstances but the best is generally done. In certain, few, rare set of circumstances, life-saving medical treatment for a mother may result in the unintended and undesired but unavoidable death of the baby. That is not abortion – that is medicine, medicine that is not only legal but practised with such skill and success in Ireland (generally) that Ireland has accrued a great reputation in the field of obstetrics, and maternal and foetal medicine. To repeat, Ireland has had the lowest maternal death rates IN THE WORLD for the past 30 years, approx. Countries with high abortion rates such as the UK and US have much higher maternal death rates. An International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare was held recently in Dublin, with experts in all the relevant fields. It confirmed what has always been clear and incontrovertible, in the Dublin Declaration, that abortion is never necessary to save a mother’s life. Abortion is NEVER medically indicated. Abortion is not medicine. It is the opposite of medicine.

  • Fishmonger

    Section 21.4 of Ireland’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners:

    “In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”

    At seventeen weeks gestation a child would stand no real chance of surviving early delivery, but the *intent* in the procedure would not be to kill him/her and, therefore, it would not constitute an abortion under Irish law, or, indeed, Catholic moral teaching.

    In addition to the links in Fr Longenecker’s post, this: http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/medical-malpractice-and-treating.html is well worth reading. There is some astonishing ignorance in the media coverage about the reality of Irish medical practice in this area.

  • Lynda

    Fishmonger, the ignorance in most of the “Mainstream” Media is intentional in this matter. Most of the MSM in Ireland does not engage in true, independent journalism when it comes to matters where it has an ideological bias, and political aim. The Irish Times, and many other print and broadcast Media in Ireland are closely associated with pro-abortion politicians and pressure groups and actively collude with them to campaign for the legalisation of abortion, usually in a dishonest, misleading way, as is in the instant case.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    Are we sure that this was the result of medical incompetence (or abortion)? From what I’ve read so far, it may be that the woman would have died even if induced labor was performed (is that the same as abortion?). This seems like a case where we should wait until the investigation is complete… if scrupulous, we should even wait for the inevitable wrongful death suit (or the Ireland equivalent) to be completed before we, or anyone, makes any judgment.

  • Pingback: Ireland, Abortion, and Maternal Health: What Really Happened to Savita Halappanavar? | theraineyview

  • JMS

    Well said, Father.

    What I don’t understand about this case is how performing an abortion could have corrected the condition that took her life? If she was septic, then it had very little to do with her child in utero. There is clearly more to this story than I’m getting from the articles I have read. But I hardly see proof that if this woman had been granted an abortion, her life would have been saved.

  • Pingback: The Other JC: Seven (not so) Quick Takes Friday (v. 51): Tavita Halappanavar, Abortion, and the Principle of Double Effect

  • A Former Catholic

    Perhaps rather than complaining about commentary on the Savita case, clergy should stop cynically exploiting the isolated case of Kermit Gosnell, a corrupt, incompetent doctor.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      Kermit Gosnell and his staff and the Penna. Dept of Health and the Philadelphia Health authorities all who covered up Gosnell’s crimes and did not investigate for fear of being politically incorrect. Then we can add the Planned Parenthood clinics who overlook statutory rape, ignore the law demanding they report underage girls having sex, etc etc.

  • FW Ken

    The problem is that we don’t really know how many women are dying our being maimed in abortion clinics protected by the likes of Karen and Former Catholic. Who, precisely bears responsibility for the deaths of women is rather clear. For one thing, the rate of maternal mortality in Ireland is a fraction of what it is on the U.S.

  • Explicit Atheist

    American Catholics are usually more liberal on social issues than the Vatican, and they may not always be fully aware just how illiberal the Vatican is, but US Bishops know better. In its 2009 “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services”, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) unequivocally teaches:

    “45. Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion…”

    • savvy

      The exception is in the danger to the mother’s life, that the pregnancy can be induced before viability.

      http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_08natlaw.html

    • savvy

      Section 21.4 of Ireland’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners:

      “In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”

  • Joan Pope

    It happened, the law must change, the church is wrong, get over it.
    Does anyone really believe that the hospital staff wanted to kill this woman? Their hands were tied by Ireland’s archaic laws that favour religious rites over human rights.
    How many good Irish Catholics come to England for their abortions?
    You only tolerate this situation because you know that the Brits will clear up the mess for you.
    Well, it’s about time you woke up and smelled the coffee as they say.

    • savvy

      The thing is they did not even understand the religious laws correctly in this case.

      • Explicit Atheist

        No, you are the one who is refusing to acknowledge the Catholic doctrine as published by Catholic Bishops in the U.S. Instead you cited “Ireland’s Guide” which is not written by, or endorsed by, the Catholic church. According to Catholic doctrine, aborting any pregnancy like tis one to try to prevent the mother from dying from sepsis is forbidden. Everyone who is asserting otherwise on this blog is wrong.

  • FW Ken

    I love the smell of coffee myself, but the aroma of facts is much better. Joan Pope, you are wrong about Irish law, Church doctrine, and, quite possibly, the medical situation. But why let facts get in the way of politics?

    And I found the numbers I’d been seeking: the U.S. maternal death rate is 21/100,000, the Irish 6/100,000. That’s with a slightly higher birthrate in Ireland. I’m not getting into cause and effect issues, but it’s clear that legalizing abortion is not the salvific act it’s thought (in some circles) to be.

    http://tinyurl.com/bfcsquj

  • FW Ken

    Perhaps Karen could enlighten us as to the source of her claims about the death of St. Gianna’s daughter. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I did find that the child was not shuffled of to some random convent, but to her aunt’s convent. She died of complications from the measles, in a hospital. To assume neglect by an aunt takes a combination of malice and ignorance that one often finds among the potto-abort crowd. Normally, I’d use “pro-choice” but Karen is clearly “pro” when she approves of the choice.

    http://www.saintgianna.org/marolinadeath.htm

  • Lynda

    I see the deliberate and consistent MO of the abortion industry and lobby to mislead and coerce people by conflating abortion (the intentional killing of the child in utero) and medicine (where in certain rare circumstances where the mother’s life is endangered, may result in the unintended, undesired but unavoidable death of the child) has worked on some of those commenting here. It is precisely Ireland’s high standards of ethics in medicine that has made it a worldwide leader in obstetrics and maternal medicine, making it one of the safest countries by far for both mothers and babies. Conversely, countries with abortion have higher rates of maternal deaths, and these figures don’t usually include a great many caused by abortion as, when this is the cause, it is usually suppressed. I understand that in India, the maternal deaths actually attributed to abortion are put at twenty thousand a year (it is likely to be significantly higher), and the number of children murdered in what is euphemistically called abortion is about eleven million a year. When a country legalises abortion, not only are stupendous numbers of innocent and defenceless children brutally killed, but many women will also be killed as a result of this unnecessary and violently invasive act – which is diametrically opposed to medicine. It is an insult to medical professionals to suggest that they ought to carry out abortions, which is the opposite of their life-saving and life-supporting work. Moreover, much greater numbers of women are permanently mutilated (e.g. perforation of the bowel) or rendered infertile, and many more psychologically injured. They all have to live with the permanent loss of their child. It cannot be undone. Moreover, the health of the mother is not opposed to the health of the child. If one is really concerned with safeguarding the life and health of the child, one must necessarily safeguard the life and health of the mother. The child generally depends on the mother’s survival for his or her own survival. In other words one does not safeguard the baby’s life by doing anything or failing to do anything that endangers the mother’s life. If one endangers the mother’s life, one also endangers the baby’s life. It is nonsensical to assert that a mother’s life would be endangered to save the baby’s life.

  • Pingback: The Strange Case of Savita Halappanavar : IgnitumToday

  • Darren

    An interesting discussion can be found here, written better than I would be able. Doubly interesting as the subject of the studies were U.S. Catholic hospitals, so no need to ponder the vagaries of Irish medical standards, just the teachings and policies of the church itself, in institutions where it has control.

    http://bigthink.com/daylight-atheism/catholic-bloggers-dont-understand-catholic-doctrine

  • Skywalker

    Fr. Longnecker, I cannot find any information on catholic doctrine which concludes that early induced labor before viability is ok to save the life of the mother. Ireland’s laws may very well permit it, but I can’t see it in church teaching. Despite this, I don’t see how abortion would cure septicemia, which is the issue in this case. Antibiotics are the treatment for septicemia.


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