I am writing today in a somber mood. A woman has just died in Ireland (where I live) because the law of the land does not allow for abortion under any circumstance.
Presenting at hospital with a miscarriage, the doctors would not act to remove the fetus until its heartbeat had stopped, three days later. After four more days in intensive care she died of septicemia. A tragic, needless, even criminal death.
“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, ‘As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.
“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.” (The Irish Times)
This is not about religion or politics. This is about the right to life. not just for fetuses. For women too.
We live in a baby-centric culture.
Many times when pregnant I felt invisible and unsupported by doctors and medical personnel: no more than a baby container who, through the act of impregnation, had surrendered her rights of self. It seems that when maternity strikes, a woman becomes invisible. An invisibility which continues to some extent for all of her mothering life. Despite her seemingly miraculous ability to gestate and nurture new life, she is a second class citizen.
Wherever you are on the abortion spectrum – for or against – a woman’s life is a woman’s life and to sacrifice it needlessly on the altar of religious dogma, patriarchy or disinterest is unforgivable. But not unusual.
This must change.