I was going to write something longer, but then we got the most heartbreaking phone call this evening.
“This is a Catholic country,” was what Irish doctors told Savita Halappanavar after she learned she was miscarrying her pregnancy and asked for an abortion to avoid further complications. She spent three days in agonising pain, eventually shaking, vomiting and passing out. She again asked for an abortion and was refused, because the foetus still had a heartbeat.
Then she died.
She died of septicaemia and E Coli. She died after three and a half days of excruciating pain. She died after repeatedly begging for an end to the pregnancy that was poisoning her. Her death would have been avoided if she had been given an abortion when she asked for it – when it was clear she was miscarrying, and that non-intervention would put her at risk.
-from The Guardian
There are many people who can far more eloquently summarise the many problems with the Irish healthcare system and our lack of abortion rights in Ireland than I can. There is not much more than I can add to today’s numerous blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets about the news on every Irish newspaper’s front pages.
However what I want to say is Savita, I am sorry that our healthcare system failed you. I’m sorry you suffered for three days waiting for your baby’s heartbeat to stop and were refused medical care which you needed. I’m sorry we haven’t managed to step away from our Catholic ethos to view necessary medical care as exactly that. I’m sorry that succesive governments have cowardly ignored the genuine need of women to access abortion services in Ireland, and I’m sorry that we have failed women by not pushing hard enough for that legislation. RIP Savita.