A woman dies in Ireland after being denied medically necessary abortion

Trigger Warning

Conservatives love to wing-it when it comes to the science of the female body and what is and isn’t medically viable. Perhaps those that advocate for no access to abortion, under any circumstances whatsoever, believe women have some kind of magical ability to “shut the whole thing down” when they are faced with a life threatening pregnancy. Perhaps that is the case in Ireland, a Catholic country where abortion is illegal. Or maybe they believe a woman deserves to die when she can’t carry her pregnancy to term–that’s all I can think of that would justify allowing a woman to drop dead after three days of agonizing pain because her pregnancy had become toxic and was killing her.

Jill writes at Feministe, 

“This is a Catholic country” was what Irish doctors told Savita Halappanavarafter she learned she was miscarrying her pregnancy and asked for an abortion to avoid further complications. She spent three days in agonizing pain, eventually shaking, vomiting and passing out. She again asked for an abortion and was refused, because the fetus still had a heartbeat.

Then she died.

She died of septicaemia and E.Coli. She died after three and a half days of excruciating pain. She died after repeatedly begging for an end to the pregnancy that was poisoning her. Her death would have been avoided if she had been given an abortion when she asked for it — when it was clear she was miscarrying, and that non-intervention would put her at risk. But the fetus, which had no chance of survival, still had a heartbeat. Its right to life quite literally trumped hers.

This is the world the GOP wants to create for certains states in the US–that is a certainty–with presidential candidates running on platforms that demand no abortion, no exceptions or argue that it is never the case that it is medically necessary for a woman to have an abortion.

It’s a frightening prospect and one that could harm the lives of many women. In a 2004 study, the Guttmacher Institute found that 13% of abortions reported were because of possible health problems affecting the fetus and 12% were concerns of their own health.

Jodi Jacobson writes at RH Reality Check, 

These are the lives of your sister, your mother, your daughter, your aunt, your friends, and your colleagues. These are the lives at stake. These are the very people that the fanatical anti-choice and religious right see as “not people.”

They are all Savita Halappanavar.

We are all Savita Halappanavar.

But we do not have to die at the hands of misogynists.

In honor of Savita Halappanavar; in honor of the nearly 22 million women worldwide each year who endure unsafe aborton; in honor of the 47,000 women per year worldwide who die from complications of unsafe abortion and the estimated 10 times that number who suffer long-term health consequences; in honor of the millions of women who do not have access to contraception, who have no control over whether and with whom they have sex or and whether or with whom they have children, we can fight back. In honor of the young girls married young and the women forced to bear children long past the point they are able to care for more… for all these women, we must continue to act, to liberalize abortion laws, ensure every woman has access, remove the stigma, and trust women, like Savita, who know when it is time to end even the most wanted pregnancy.

Because she deserved to live. We deserve to live. We are people.


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