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Savita Halappanavar- the thread to actually talk about the case

(106 Posts)
ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Thu 15-Nov-12 16:00:11

Away from the madness of the other thread.

pointythings Thu 15-Nov-12 21:58:14

Very good points, edam. I may have too much faith in human nature.

I have been watching the arguments develop and I am amazingly angry at some of them. Posters on other sites have been at pains to point out cases of women dying from legal abortions, without for a moment pointing out mortality statistics relating to illegal abortions. Then there's Extro with her compassion bypass and more like her. So many people don't seem to want to acknowledge that this was a situation where one life was already lost - and a second was also lost, needlessly.

I have two DDs - they may end up going to university in Ireland if the current situation with tuition fees stays the same. I will make damn sure that if anything goes wrong and they end up pregnant, they will have a termination in the UK if they want it. I am so grateful that I live in a civilised country.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 15-Nov-12 22:11:59

I just wonder if there was an element of racism which influenced the way Savita was treated.

As I understand it, the law is a bit unclear in Ireland about whether you could abort in the circs they were in - baby was clearly dying and unviable and she at risk of death if termination didn't happen. So they could very possibly have carried out a termination and saved her life and had a reasonable confidence that their action would stand up in court as the baby was miscarrying anyway. Particularly as the EU is on their side - Ireland should be fucking thrown out of the EU if they don't clarify the law the way they're supposed to.

I'm wondering how many cases like this there are and whether there have been any where medics have in fact risked court believing that they could justify it legally. And if so, whether Savita was not just a victim of misogyny but also of racism. That crap "Ireland is a catholic country" sounds to me like someone talking to someone s/he considers not "one of us", not someone talking to a fellow human being in mortal danger, asking for medical care.

I could be completely off the mark but just wonder if anyone knows about this?

pointythings Thu 15-Nov-12 22:16:49

Fastidia we will never get to the bottom of that one, but it wouldn't susprise me <cynical>. Ireland isn't brilliant on inclusiveness for ethnic minorities, except perhaps in Dublin.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 15-Nov-12 22:19:02

Sorry Curtsey just noticed your post.

So in fact, there are cases where doctors will abort in ireland and know that they won't be dragged before the beak.

So those doctors must have known this.

And they chose to let Savita die.


FreddieMercurysBolero Thu 15-Nov-12 22:40:57

I think we'll have to agree to disagree pointy, carrot and everyone(!) until the independent report comes out and James Reilly gets up off his arse and reads it.

Pointy - have you ever been to Galway? It's probably the most open-minded, culturally diverse city in Ireland.

edam Thu 15-Nov-12 22:47:43

Curtsey, I'd missed your post because of the unfortunate juxtaposition with extro's bizarre and unpleasant contribution. That testimony is a very important point - that at least one doctor DID act to save a woman's life when she was miscarrying, so these doctors could have done the same, had they any conscience or competence.

FreddieMercurysBolero Thu 15-Nov-12 23:08:46

Haven't clicked on extros link but am pretty sure that it does not add to the discussion.

This article in the Times today may explain what I've been trying to say a little more eloquently. No clear legislation for medical staff in these circumstances means they face a grey area where they have to use their own judgement. And in this case they made the wrong call and a woman died unnescessarily.

verylittlecarrot Thu 15-Nov-12 23:31:43

Freddy - legally perhaps, a grey area.
Medically, a black and white choice. Do your job, or fail to do it. Their job was to save her life.

I understand they faced a risk in doing their jobs. But to accept that position and treat that woman knowing they would fail her medically is still reprehensible.
If you can't do your job you can only either shout that you are being forced to risk lives and try to change things, and then be prepared to defy an unjust law
or leave the profession entirely.

If I was a builder being forced to build unsafe buildings that would collapse on people's heads I would leave the job rather than have a death on my hands. Claiming "they made me do it" (whilst continuing to stay in the paid employment of that profession) is no defence.

FreddieMercurysBolero Thu 15-Nov-12 23:51:20

I get where you're coming from Carrot - but it ultimately boils down to the govt. avoiding drafting legislation after the judgement in the X case. If they had legislated, then no grey area would exist in the first place.

I do wonder if the HSE could have in this case attempted to gain a court order to do a D+D, thus 'terminating' the pregnancy? The HSE have done so in cases where life saving treatment was needed, such as the AB case and (rather unnescessarily) in the & CW case (See page 21 for an overview of the case)
. Interestingly enough, both of those cases involved going against the religous beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses in order to provide medical treatment. I wonder if the same would be done in the case of Catholics. Probably notsad

madwomanacrosstheroad Thu 15-Nov-12 23:52:07

Fastidia, it seems that there may well have been an element in the treatment or rather lack of treatment of Savita. I was talking to a friend earlier at one of the protests and she was talking about her niece miscarrying last week in a dublin hospital. It was a totally different case in that it was much earlier in the pregnancy and the cervix was closed, so not the same risk of infection but it seems that while the embryo had stopped developing and growing there still was a suggestion of a possible heartbeat. The woman was offered an appointment for a d&c.
The issue re Savita is not directly about women's right to choose. However the gouvernment's persistent refusal to legislate for the x case has created a grey zone where the treatment Savita suffered could happen easily. As there is no legal definition, prioritising prolonging the life of a nonviable fetus over that of the mother depends on the judgement of the doctor. Women here are beginning to ask if the same would have happened had Savita been white.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 16-Nov-12 00:00:38

Certainly "Ireland is a Catholic country" seems like patronising twaddle to a woman in agony and almost on her deathbed.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 16-Nov-12 00:02:52

freddie the irony is nothing in her personal faith or beliefs presumably conflicted with what her request. Yet that was disregarded.
Dammit, she wanted to life! They had a duty to help her do that.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 16-Nov-12 00:03:31

to live

madwomanacrosstheroad Fri 16-Nov-12 00:04:28

I was watching the english language el jazeera news channel there and they had a report in which Savitas widower announced he would do whatever it takesto change the status quo in ireland.
The taboo around abortion has been broken and there is international attention.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 16-Nov-12 00:20:57

Mr. Kenny:"'A child has been lost, a mother has died and a husband is bereaved,' said Mr Kenny. 'That is a tragedy.'"

Even now all he can begin with is "a child has been lost"?!? angry

FreddieMercurysBolero Fri 16-Nov-12 00:26:45

I certainly hope it had nothing to do with race, fastidiasad

Zombies,I would like to think the 'Ireland is a Catholic country' comment would have been someones clumsy attempt to explain the (slowly diminishing) stranglehold the catholic church has had on every aspect of Irish society, particularly the right to life of the unborn child. Maybe not thoughsad.

FreddieMercurysBolero Fri 16-Nov-12 00:32:41

And Enda Kenny has been known to speak out against the church. An unfortunate turn of phrase, but no doubt calculated in order no to alienate the old guard who still vote Fine Gael.

FreddieMercurysBolero Fri 16-Nov-12 00:35:55

- I hope the international attention will sway FG, madwoman. Labour had outlined that they would take action in their election manefesto, hence the appointment of the expert group, but I'd hazard a guess that FG were putting that on the long finger, hence James Reilly being too busy and important to read the damned thing and present his findings.

cartimandua Fri 16-Nov-12 00:36:46

But the poor woman didn't need an abortion. That's a complete red herring. She was miscarrying and the foetus was non-viable at 17 weeks. What she needed was clinical management of the miscarriage. The law on abortion in Ireland, or lack of it, has nothing to do with the case, except as a smokescreen for these cruel and incompetent doctors to hide behind. Of course if Ireland had civilised laws on abortion, like the rest of the Western world, the medical staff wouldn't have anything to hide behind.
The medical staff knew that the foetus had no chance of survival, they knew that in managing the miscarriage properly they would not have been performing an abortion, so how they could stand there for three days and watch a fellow human being die in agony is utterly beyond me.

sieglinde Fri 16-Nov-12 07:41:16

Oh, gods, we're back to this.

For a while there was a rational conversation going on about the way misogynist ideology was a reason for the crap medical care pregnant women face, all the time and with or without the separate issue of Irish abortion law, and now we are back to ranting.

FFS. I despair.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 16-Nov-12 07:49:45

sieglinde that is indeed the key issue but it doesn't mean any comment on any other aspect is "ranting". I find the reaction of the government to an incident such as this to be germane.

sieglinde Fri 16-Nov-12 08:47:18

It is indeed, zombie, and it wasn't you I meant - friendly grin.

FreddieMercurysBolero Fri 16-Nov-12 09:12:02

Sieglinde - I believe that Savita died as a result of many factors, the most pertinent being:

-the influence of the Catholic Church on Irish society -particularly the church's role as a social provider and the influence of the Catholic Church in the Irish political sphere for example, the preamble to the Constitution (upon which all Irish law is based...)

^"In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire, Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,

And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution"^

-Political mishandling and avoidance of discussion on abortion and legislating for abortion in Ireland.

I feel that discussion of these factors and focusing our energies on the failure of 7 successive governments to act upon legislating for abortion is where our energies should be focused, as legislating for abortion (the best we can hope for is abortion in limited circumstances, to begin with, but this will hopefully open the debate on abortion) will lead to change.

If you don't believe these issues were a factor in the case or warrant discussion, then feel free to discuss misogynist ideology. I won't accuse you of 'ranting' simply because you wish to discuss a different topic.

chipmonkey Fri 16-Nov-12 10:08:30

Fastidia, I doubt if there was a racist element, I hope not. FWIW a lot of the doctors and nurses in the Irish health service are from India themselves and usually very highly regarded. The vast majority of Irish people are not racist.

LeBFG Fri 16-Nov-12 10:46:45

Somebody has already asked but not sure if there was a reply: when will we know the outcome of the investigation?

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