Tag Archives: Elizabeth Scalia

Life-saving abortions and prolife indecision

Savita HalappanavarAs far as I can see, there are two prolife trends in response to Savita Halappanavar’s death in hospital, denied an abortion.

One reaction is to argue that she would have died anyway, so an abortion wasn’t necessary as it never is no matter what.

For example, SPUC dehumanises Savita as the foetus’s “protection” and argues that the hospital were right not to perform an abortion:

“It is not ethical to induce delivery of an unborn child if there is no prospect of the child surviving outside the womb. At 17 weeks’ pregnancy Mrs Halappanavar’s child was clearly not viable outside the womb, as there is no scientific evidence that unborn children are capable of surviving outside the womb at such a young age. Rather than removing the protection of the womb from unborn children, the ethical response to emergency situations in pregnancy is medical treatment of the mother for the conditions causing the emergency. In the case of infection, this is usually timely administration of antibiotics. It is also not ethical to end the life of an unborn child, via induction or any other means, where the child is terminally-ill.”

The other is to argue that there was medical incompetence because of course she could have received “all necessary medical treatment” to save her life: the familiar prolife distinction that makes some abortions, in their mind, not really abortions.

(Meantime, the prochoice majority is simply outraged. But that’s the human response.)

It is worth noting that had Savita Halappanavar got an abortion on 21st October and been home in time to celebrate Diwali with her husband, if similar publicity had been given to her getting an abortion in an Irish hospital as has been given to her death as a result of being denied an abortion, we would now be seeing from both sets of prolifers a universal outcry against her having been “allowed” to have an abortion: and any Catholics who performed or who assisted in her abortion would be excommunicated.
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