I needed some time to digest this story… Sorry folks but that is a lie. I needed some time to come back to a (relatively) coherent state before I could write reasonably about what went down with Savita Halappanavar.
A post filled with nothing but white-hot rage and invective against the pustulant ass-pimples known as pro-lifers (anti-choicers, for the sake of veracity) and their equally pustulant,delusion friends, the Catholic Church would serve little purpose other than giving the other side ammunition about how nasty I am (Humourless Feminist, Too Sensitive, Crazy Socialist, Militant Atheist etc…the list is long ). No, my ninnyhammerd-half-witted friends won’t get the pleasure because in Savita’s case there is nothing for me to add, the absolute horror and immorality of their position is chillingly clear - and a young woman had to die because of it (and women are dying of it here in North America too).
Let’s just look at how our pro-life catholic friends “helped” Savita Halappanavar – Analysis from Dr. Jen Gunter (I’m referencing Jen’s post to make my point, she does not hold the same opinion as I). [ed. bold text mine]
This is what is known. Savita Halappanavar was 31 years old and happy to be pregnant with her first child. Then, at 17 weeks, tragedy struck and she was “found to be miscarrying.” Her husband reports that she was in “severe pain” for three days at the hospital and a termination was requested. He says this request was denied because Ireland is “a Catholic country.” He and his late wife were led to believe that the law would only allow her to be delivered when there was no fetal heartbeat.
What does the standard of medical care say about this treatment? Without access to the chart, “miscarrying” at 17 weeks can only mean one of three things”
A) Ruptured membranes
B) Advanced cervical dilation
C) Labor (this is unlikely, although it is possible that she had preterm labor that arrested and left her with scenario B, advanced cervical dilation).
All three of these scenarios have a dismal prognosis, none of which should involve the death of the mother.
Okay, ground rules set. There were no mysteries here, the medical playbook is straight forward.
The standard of care with ruptured membranes (scenario A) is to offer termination or, if there is no evidence of infection and the pregnancy is desired, the option of observing for a few days to see if the leak seals over and more fluid accumulates. If no fluid accumulates and by some chance the pregnancy manages to go beyond 24 weeks (the vast majority of pregnancies with ruptured membranes delivery within a week), survival is unlikely given the lungs require amniotic fluid to develop. I have seen the rare case where a woman with no infection (and no fluid) elects conservative management in the hopes that might make it to at least 24 weeks in the pregnancy, however, I have never heard of a baby surviving in this scenario. Regardless, if at any point infection is suspected the treatment is antibiotics and delivery not antibiotics alone.
The standard of care with scenario B involves offering delivery or possibly a rescue cerclage (a stitch around the cervix to try to prevent further dilation and thus delivery) depending on the situation. Inducing delivery (or a D and E) is offered because a cervix that has dilated significantly often leads to labor or an infection as the membranes are now exposed to the vaginal flora. Many women do not want wait for infection. A rescue cerclage is not without risks and is contraindicated with ruptured membranes or any sign of infection. Rescue cerclage is a very case by case intervention and well beyond the scope of this post. These decisions are difficult and the mark of good medical care is that all scenarios are discussed, all interventions that are technically possible offered, and then the patient makes an informed decision. All with the understanding that if infection develops, delivery is indicated.
Medically speaking, Dr.Gunter explains the outcomes of what these religiously addled doctors did, or more specifically did not do.
As there is no medically acceptable scenario at 17 weeks where a woman is miscarrying AND is denied a termination, there can only be three plausible explanations for Ms. Hapappanavar’s “medical care” :
1) Irish law does indeed treat pregnant women as second class citizens and denies them appropriate medical care. The medical team was following the law to avoid criminal prosecution.
2) Irish law does not deny women the care they need; however, a zealous individual doctor or hospital administrator interpreted Catholic doctrine in such a way that a pregnant woman’s medical care was somehow irrelevant and superceded by heart tones of a 17 weeks fetus that could never be viable.
3) Irish law allows abortions for women when medically necessary, but the doctors involved were negligent in that they could not diagnose infection when it was so obviously present, did not know the treatment, or were not competent enough to carry out the treatment.
What we do know is that a young, pregnant, woman who presented to the hospital in a first world country died for want of appropriate medical care. Whether it’s Irish Catholic law or malpractice, only time will tell; however, no answer could possibly ease the pain and suffering of Ms. Halappanavar’s loved ones.
This is what we get when we allow insipid religious prevarication into important parts of our society. Mythology and magic have no place in secular institutions, not now and not ever. Yet we still allow the bullshite in despite the injuries, deaths and pain it causes. Religion poisons everything and everyone it touches and yet Religion is just one head of the hydra that conspired to end Savita’s life. By now the ironically named “Pro-life” band of fetus fetishists need to take their bows and unsuccessfully try to wipe their bloody hands of this uncomfortable case.
Savita’s death is on their hands because this is what you get when you don’t value women as people and see them only as incubators. Savita and other women are dying because of the batshite-insane anti-choice nuttery that goes on that somehow makes it okay to take women out of the pregnancy equation and deny her rights. So have your prayer vigils, your fetus-porn, your 40 days of fuckwittery - all so you can feel fucking morally superior(?) when a women like Savita Halappanarvar dies? Your fetid morality is repugnant and has no place in a civilized society… none whatsoever.
You know what the best tell is from these anti-woman fetus worshipping zealots is? The absolute fucking silence from the pro-life side of things when details of Savita’s death rang around the world. The author(s) over at Reasonable Conversation nailed it with this post which I excerpt here. [ed. bold text mine]
The fact of the matter is, these people can only thrive when the deaths are anonymous. The moment we had a name for one of the victims of their horrible and irrational beliefs, they needed to shut up and hide so nobody could ask them if Savita Halappanavar should have died, if it was god’s will, if they should have allowed her to be treated. They can’t answer these questions because the answers they would give would make them look like monsters if they were honest and undermine their message if they lied.
This. A thousand times just this.
This is why we fight for the rights of women because the regressive religiously addled view women as second class citizens not worthy of human rights or treatment. Your torpid bronze age shenanigans have gone on for much too long and hurt too many people. Where is the apology from the pope? Where is the outcry from the anti-choicers? There is none because they cannot or will not see the monstrous evil of their positions, better to whip up some more fetus porn or get some more red duct tape and pray to your imaginary sky-daddy.
When the consequences of your bullshite come to light the religiously anti-choice zealots scurry away from the light of reason(rule one in the nutter playbook), when the unnamed become named and the travesty of your rotten ethics is bared to light you offer no defense, because there is no defense for your untenable immoral position.