How Many More Women Like Savita Halappanavar Should We Tolerate?

That’s what Feministe friend Soraya Chemaly is asking over at the Huffington Post. Check it out.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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11 Responses to How Many More Women Like Savita Halappanavar Should We Tolerate?

  1. Rick says:

    According to this article, ectopic pregnancy surgeries are performed in Ireland. Isn’t that an “abortion” to save the life of the mother? If they are willing to do one but not the other, it seems they are clearly hypocritical.

    • yes says:

      I think they import True Scotsmen to make the call.

    • matlun says:

      In Ireland, abortion is legal if the life of the mother is at risk.
      (Note that risk to “life” is required here. If “just” the health of the mother is at risk it is still illegal)

    • Glenna says:

      It’s worse than you think. The Catholic magisterium permits this surgery if it involves removal of the entire fallopian tube in question. It is of COURSE not abortion because you’re not specifically aiming at removing the fetus (the inevitable, um, side effect, or “secondary and unintended”). Yet this destroys half of the woman’s reproductive capacity for the future.

      I’m pretty sure this is fairly standard practice at Catholic hospitals in the U.S., which seems like it should be something that should be publicized.

      • Anon says:

        Right – the doctrine of double-effect countenances a moral distinction between doing something and bringing something about. That is, to do x intentionally is morally different than bringing x about by means of doing y, so long as you intended y and not x. So it’s not ok to intentionally kill the embryo (e.g. via methotrexate, the standard initial treatment for ectopic pregnancy), but it’s ok to remove the fallopian tube, as a result of which the embryo will die. As far as I can tell, this is a distinction without a difference – in what sense is the embryo’s death really unintended? – but this is at least the moral reasoning given by the church.

        Really though I’m just commenting to correct a bit of a misconception – as someone who’s had an ectopic pregnancy, and who did have to have a ruptured tube removed, I will say that it is not true that this halves a woman’s fertility. Interestingly enough, fallopian tubes are mobile, and the other fallopian tube can sometimes ‘pick up the slack,’ so to speak. I say this only for the benefit of women who have had a salpingectomy and who are now concerned about their future fertility, and not in any way to defend the church’s reasoning.

  2. Lolagirl says:

    The RCC’s stance on reproductive care for women is just so infuriating. The last 20 years has seen the Church aggressively pursue the expansion of its stranglehold over medical services in small communities where there are little, if any, options for patients to receive care from alternative sources. It’s clearly a very lucrative field for them, and bonus points for making it all the more difficult for women to receive the gynecological services they need whenever they run afoul of Catholic dogma.

    I also think the RCC sees this as an opportunity for their male-run hierarchy to further exert their will over what was initially a largely female run enterprise in the form of nurse nuns who provided much of the care at these facilities. They have attempted to do to the same to the nuns who initially provided much of the educating and ministering to the poor. That is until the Pope and the bishops realized all of these nuns doing good were not actually procuring them additional members or widening the Church’s power base.

  3. Foxy says:

    I always believe in sanctions against countries that outright ban abortion

  4. Stella says:

    How many have been there? Serious question, I dont recall another case in America or Europe hitting the headlines. If there have been other such cases in the past 10 years or so, why didnt it make headlines?

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