DUBLIN, November 15, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The death of a young woman in Galway, reportedly from complications of a miscarriage, has abortion-promoters demonstrating in the streets of Dublin, demanding legislation to legalise abortion. Pro-life leaders in Ireland and abroad, however, have slammed the media and abortion campaigners for using the young woman’s tragic death despite the dearth of details about what actually happened. They have also pointed to clear evidence that pro-abortion groups knew about Savita’s case days before it hit the media, and that they were already planning on using the case to further their cause.
Ireland’s leading pro-life group Youth Defence has issued a statement saying that the family of Savita Halappanaver has their deepest sympathies, but that her circumstances do not support the hysterical calls for legalisation of abortion. “This is a tragic loss, and we need to remember that Irish doctors are always obliged to intervene to save the life of a mother – even if that risks the life of her baby.”
Halappanavar, a 31 year-old Indian woman died October 28th of septicaemia, a severe systemic inflammatory infection, after she was admitted to hospital while miscarrying.
Her husband Praveen has told Irish media that his wife died because doctors refused an abortion, and that story has been spread worldwide.
Halappanavar said that doctors determined that his wife was miscarrying within hours of her hospitalization and said that they refused to consider an abortion, saying that Ireland is a “Catholic country.”
The case has created an international media feeding frenzy, with headlines around the world implying that Catholic teaching is responsible for the woman’s death. Front page coverage has appeared in the Guardian, Daily Mail and the Mirror, as well the U.S. and UK editions of The Huffington Post, the CBC and elsewhere.
Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute called it “outrageous” to suggest that Catholic teaching would prevent proper treatment for a pregnant woman. “Neither the ethos of the Catholic Church nor the pro-life laws of Ireland would prevent any woman from receiving all treatment she requires in order to preserve her life,” she said.
Uí Bhriain added, “Abortion doesn’t cure septicaemia and isn’t a treatment for miscarriage.”
Meanwhile, a leaked e-mail, dated Sunday, November 11, indicates that the Irish Choice Network had been given prior knowledge of the case, days before it hit the media, though by whom is as yet uncertain. The Irish Times did not break the story publicly until November 14th, running the headline, “Woman ‘denied a termination’ dies in hospital”.
The e-mail advised ICN followers that “a major news story in relation to abortion access is going to break in the media early this coming week,” and said the news would be the basis of a prearranged protest calling for abortion outside the Dáil on Wednesday. The e-mail asked members to attend a meeting of the Irish Choice Network when they would have “more definite information around which we can make some collective decisions about how best to proceed.”
“Apologies if this is all a little mysterious, but the reason why I didn’t want to put specific details down by e-mail will probably be clear tomorrow,” it continued.
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The e-mail, Uí Bhriain said, showed clearly that abortion advocates have deliberately exploited the case to start a campaign to have abortion legalised in Ireland. She said that serious questions now needed to be asked. “The media and the HSE [Health Services Executive] now needs to ask why this information seems to have been given in advance to abortion advocates,” she added.
“Was it given to them by the Irish Times, or by someone in the HSE? And if so, why?” she asked. She noted that the Irish Times story was written by Kitty Holland, daughter of leading abortion advocate Eamonn McCann.
“As we await the investigation in to what happened in Galway hospital, we need to know why this private patient information was given to campaigners for legalised abortion in Ireland,” she said.
Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews.com that Ireland’s laws already prioritise the life of the mother. Under the current law, doctors who fail to intervene to save a woman’s life are subject to disciplinary action for negligence. “Far from being the pro-life laws putting undue pressure to save the life of the unborn child, they put additional measures to protect the life of the mother,” she said.
At the moment medical details are scant, with the hospital and the government refusing to release details until after an investigation is completed, leaving pro-life groups scrambling to respond to claims that are impossible to verify either way.
“Our hearts are with [Mr. Halappanavar], but an abortion would not have saved her life. The medical council guidelines are incredibly clear, that the doctors must intervene to save a woman’s life, if they don’t they’re guilty of misconduct,” Uí Bhriain added.
Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said, “What we do know is that miscarriage and infection can be managed by proper medical treatment. Abortion is not medicine – it does not treat or cure any pathology.”
“What is rarely reported are the many cases of women who have died from infection or other causes because of supposedly safe and legal abortions.”
He named Manon Jones, Jessie-Maye Barlow and Emma Beck who all died of complications of abortion in Britain. He pointed to findings of the World Health Organisation that the Republic of Ireland, with some of the strictest pro-life laws in the world, also has the world’s best record in maternal health. By contrast, Great Britain and the United States, with their high abortion rates, have relatively poor maternal health records.
Earlier this year an international group of 140 obstetricians and other physicians meeting in Dublin issued a statement denying that abortion is ever “medically necessary” for women.
Ireland’s Minister for Health, James Reilly, who is not pro-life, has called for calm, saying he does not believe the claims that the doctors told Mr. Halappanavar that abortion was not available because Ireland is a Catholic country. He added that no decisions can be made until a medical investigation is completed.
The country’s General Medical Council guidelines already allow for abortion in “rare” cases when a pregnancy would threaten the mother’s life. The guidance states, “In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”
Labour leader and coalition Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore has not hesitated to use the uproar to again press for legalisation of abortion. Gilmore said this government will not become the seventh to “neglect and ignore” the issue. Labour is the only party in Ireland that has full legalisation of abortion as part of its platform.
The issue has come to a high boil after the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling in the A,B and C case saying that Ireland must “clarify” under what circumstances abortion could be legal under the current law. While the Court did not say that Ireland must legalise abortion, this has not stopped Gilmore and other abortion activists from insisting that abortion be declared legal. The report on abortion’s legal situation by the government’s expert group, which has been expected imminently for months, was reportedly delivered to the Health Minister on Tuesday and is expected to be published immediately.