Savita Halappanavar’s Death

On several occasions I have been asked to explain my views on the intersection of atheism and reproductive freedom. Well here it is, isn’t it? From BBC News, the story of 31 year-old Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland on Sunday due to complications of pregnancy:

“On the Saturday night everything changed, she started experiencing back pain so we called into the hospital, the university hospital.”

He said she continued to experience pain and asked a consultant if she could be induced.

“They said unfortunately she can’t because it’s a Catholic country,” Mr Halappanavar said.

“Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her.

“But she said ‘I’m sorry, unfortunately it’s a Catholic country’ and it’s the law that they can’t abort when the foetus is live.”

This was a woman, and a family, and medical professionals who knew that aborting the pregnancy was the safest, sanest medical decision. This hospital stood by as Savita Halappanavar died slowly and painfully of septicemia. They refused to treat Savita as her her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, watched helplessly as her organs shut down one after another.

Because it’s a Catholic country.

According to the article, several investigations by different groups are underway.

UPDATE: There are several hashtags on Twitter that are following activism around Savita’s case: #Savita #RIPSavita. Here is a legislative action website. A protest is taking place tonight. A Candlelight Vigil is being held in Galway this weekend.