In the wake of the tragic and preventable death of Savita Halappanavar, Irish politicians promised that this government would “not become the seventh to ‘neglect and ignore’ the issue of the Supreme Court ruling abortion on the X Case.” Six months later, the cabinet has proposed a bill it says will not “change the law” on abortion.
If you don’t want to provide the obstetric or gynecological services your patient needs—which may include an abortion—maybe you should choose another field of specialty.
A 22-year-old Salvadoran woman with severe chronic medical conditions is pregnant with a fetus without a brain. But a 1998 law in El Salvador prohibits all abortions, without exception.
This is the inevitable outcome of abortion bans. Women die.
If you’re pregnant and wind up in a Catholic hospital, you could find yourself in more trouble after you’ve seen a doctor than before you walked in the door.
As a committee of the Irish Parliament considers proposals to offer limited legal abortion in Ireland, this paper explores how these issues came together around Savita Halappanavar’s death, the interpretation of Catholic health policy and the consequences for pregnant women.
Here in Central America, women are denied life-saving treatment every day. Women with life-threatening illnesses are denied treatment because to do so might harm their pregnancy—just the same explanation that Savita’s husband received from their doctors in Galway. [This article is published in both English and Spanish.]
Haunted by the harrowing details of Savita’s death we’re left to wonder how many more women in Ireland may have lost their lives as a result of being denied a life-saving abortion.
What does it say about a society when it leaves a woman to die in the name of “life?” Where is the respect for women’s lives? This irony pervades the politics surrounding women’s health in my own country, the United States.
The plight of the Halappanavars indirectly highlights the narrowness of a “Catholic” law in an increasingly borderless world. The question now is whether the global valence of a woman’s death can inspire a national reckoning.