I wasn’t going to write a post about this. It happened long enough ago that I’m not super angry about it anymore. Just sad.
So I’m guessing you all know about the death of Savita Halappanavar. It’s being touted as caused by being denied an abortion: nobody actually knows that, but it seems likely that if she had been allowed an ‘abortion’ (can it even be called that, since she was miscarrying anyway?) she probably wouldn’t have died, since apparently her cervix remained dilated for three days and that’s going to expose you to all kinds of things you oughtn’t be exposed to, like the septicaemia which killed her.
I’m very pro-choice, in that hey, it’s none of my business if you want an abortion! If you want one, you should be allowed one. I don’t know if I’d ever have one; I would hate to find myself in that position! But it’s nice to know that if I did, it’s there.
It’s unfortunate, nobody celebrates it, it shouldn’t be used as a contraceptive, but mistakes happen. I’ve had two friends become pregnant by mistake: one had an abortion, one had the baby. As far as I know, they are both blissfully happy in their decisions. Yay for free choice 🙂
Apparently in Ireland, allowances are made for the situation Savita found herself in, but for some reason the medical professionals caring for her would not do anything so long as they detected a ‘foetal heartbeat’. Even though this foetus was dying. Even though they were actually allowed to speed the process along. She was told she was in a ‘Catholic country’, to which she responded that she was neither Irish nor Catholic. And yet this happened. It really is a tragedy for all concerned.
I’m not religious: never have been, never will be. But I can sort of, sometimes, see why people are pro-life when it conflicts with their beliefs. I don’t agree with it, but I can understand it. But letting two lives go instead of just one is hardly ‘pro life’. And this is what I don’t get. I have heard some people (few, but some) say that this was ‘God’s will’. Seriously? Letting a beautiful, educated young woman die along with her 17 week old foetus is ‘God’s will’? Why would you worship such a nasty piece of work? And, if everything were ‘God’s will’, then why has God allowed us to discover things such as abortion? Why has he allowed us to create contraception like the pill, the IUD, the condom etc? If it were ‘God’s will’, why did he allow these things to exist: things to save women from suffering the same fate as Savita? Seems a little odd, to me. He is meant to be omnipotent after all.
Things like abortion will always exist. Legislating it away does not make it disappear. All it does is increase the number of richer women travelling abroad for abortions, and increase the number of poorer women having backstreet abortions which can very easily lead to infertility or death.
You don’t have to like abortion. I’m pretty sure pregnant women don’t just rock up at the family planning clinic requesting abortions as a fun weekday activity. But it needs to exist for women like Savita; for women like my friend; for women whose pill fails to work; for women who are dying the world over due to unsafe abortions, ectopic pregnancies etc.; for women who have an unviable foetus that will die within hours of its birth – those women have to carry their baby to full term in some countries, to know that all they will ever be buying for it is a coffin. How can people support that? How is that ok, when we have the medical knowledge to stop it happening?
They often say that if men got pregnant, there would be an abortion clinic on every street corner. I’m not a man hater in any sense of the word and I know most men would support what is right for women. But when I see crazy Republicans in America saying that women who are raped can’t get pregnant and that even if they do, it’s ‘God’s will’, I just fucking despair.
It’s 2012. Let’s grow up.