Abortion comes to Ireland
This is guest post by Sister Tiberia:
Very few people will not be aware of the story that began this - the Irish dentist Savita Halappanavar who died in an Irish hospital of septicaemia, during a miscarriage at 17 weeks of pregnancy. For those of you who don't know the medical details they are well summarised HERE by a Canadian gynaecologist.
Her view was that "Infection must always be suspected whenever, preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, or advanced premature cervical dilation occurs (one of the scenarios that would have brought Ms. Halappanavar to the hospital)", and that the only correct treatment at this point would have been induction of labour coupled to aggressive antibiotic therapy.
The Irish courts agreed with this gynaecologist and handed down a verdict of "medical misadventure" (medical malpractice for the American readers).
But that isn't what this post is about. Because if the death of this lady and her unborn child sowed the wind, then Ireland is now reaping the whirlwind. The Irish Parliament is now debating the wretchedly misnamed "Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013" - which potentially is going to give Ireland more liberal abortion laws that many other EU countries.
Firstly, there was no need for this Bill. Irish law already allows the termination of a pregnancy if the mother's life is in danger. The fact that the hospital misinterpreted the law has been seized upon by people who have wanted the country's abortion law liberalised and saw this as a perfect opportunity. A double tragedy became a political opportunity - and the opportunity was taken.
Phyllis Zagano at the National Catholic Reporter in America has an excellent article on this.
In it she explains that, under the new law, abortion will be permitted under a number of circumstances previously not legal under Irish law, including if the mother is considered to be suicidal. You don't have to be an unrepentant cynic to see just how that can and will be abused. The requirement that three doctors (one gynaecologist and two psychiatrists) will have to be in agreement for the law to be invoked brings less than fond memories of the two-doctor "safeguard" in English law. Yes, it's working really well this side of the Irish Sea. No, of course we don't have abortion on demand in the UK. Really. Yes, I know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
The new Irish law also - frighteningly - has no term limit on when an abortion can be performed. As Phyllis says: "With no term limit on when an abortion may be performed, in theory, a medical condition at eight and a half months could allow for a partial-birth abortion - killing a partly delivered baby."
I strongly recommend reading the whole of Phyllis's article. Because, at present, the relatively limited opposition to this Bill in Ireland is being led by the Catholic Church, and in the aftermath of the scandals its moral authority is seen by many as limited. Phyllis comments: "Yes, the Irish bishops have complained about the bill. Yes, the Irish cardinal has suggested excommunication for those who vote for it. But few in the age group truly affected by the law could care less what any churchman says or does." The main group that might have actively fought this is simply not going to be listened to.
Pray for Ireland. Because whatever the wrongs of the Savita Halappanavar case - and they were many - the floodgates have been opened. God have mercy.
Addendum from His Grace (from LifeSiteNews):
"While Ireland’s Catholic bishops and the pro-life movement are fighting desperately to keep the government from enacting legislation to permit abortion, Boston College, a Catholic institution in Massachusetts, is honoring the head of the same government."It is curious, while the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is threatening to excommunicate its members should they support this Bill, that the Jesuits of Boston are being seen to reward the architect of the policy with an honourary doctorate - and a doctorate of civil law, at that! Enda Kenny reportedly responded to the threat of excommunication: "As I explained to the cardinal and members of the church, my book is the Constitution and the Constitution is determined by the people."
At what point is a Roman Catholic politician obliged to put canon law over the civil law, and where is the latitude? In the UK, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has made it clear: “I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Whip's Office.”
Now, there's a loyal Roman Catholic most worthy of an honourary DCL from Boston College.