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Nov 28 2012

Sorrowing bishops

The Irish bishops have spoken up. Just as they spoke up when all that terrible stuff about child rape by priests and the moving of child-raping priests from job to job instead of reporting them to the law was coming to light despite decades of effort to keep it hidden. They say the same thing now as they said then. They’re very very very sad.

The death of Mrs. Savita Halappanavar and her unborn child in University Hospital Galway on the 28 October last was a devastating personal tragedy for her husband and family. It has stunned our country. We share the anguish and sorrow expressed by so many at the tragic loss of a mother and her baby in these circumstances and we express our sympathy to the family of Mrs. Halappanavar and all those affected by these events.

See? They’re saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Now will everybody please shut up and leave them alone?

But first let them explain. It wasn’t their fault. They have it right and the people who think University Hospital Galway should have evacuated Savita Halappanavar’s uterus at once instead of waiting three days until the fetal heart stopped – those people have it wrong.

In light of the widespread discussion following the tragic death of Mrs Halappanavar and her unborn baby, we wish to reaffirm some aspects of Catholic moral teaching. These were set out in our recently published Day for Life message on 7 October last, available on www.chooselife2012.ie.

- The Catholic Church has never taught that the life of a child in the womb should be preferred to that of a mother. By virtue of their common humanity, a mother and her unborn baby are both sacred with an equal right to life.

And if the “baby” happens through some strange accident to be inside the mother and in the process of dying because the mother is miscarrying – then that “equal right to life” means the doctors just have to fold their hands and do nothing while infection rages, until the “baby” no longer has a heartbeat.

- Whereas abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby and is gravely immoral in all circumstances, this is different from medical treatments which do not directly and intentionally seek to end the life of the unborn baby. Current law and medical guidelines in Ireland allow nurses and doctors in Irish hospitals to apply this vital distinction in practice while upholding the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby.

Right. That’s what they did. So Savita Halappanavar is dead. She’s another sacrifice on the altar of Catholic “moral” conceit and presumption and interference.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    bcmystery

    And here I was worried the bishops wouldn’t grab yet another opportunity to remind us how monstrous they are.

  2. 2
    Martha

    Unfuckingbelievable.

  3. 3
    Paul W.

    Those are some sorry bishops, all right.

  4. 4
    Kausik Datta

    Sodding hypocrites.

  5. 5
    Eamon Knight

    Thing is, I can read that either way: “Yes it would be OK to intervene in a case like this” or “No it’s not, tough”. I strongly suspect it’s the latter, but they don’t have the gumption to come out and say so. It’s weaselly, like a politician trying to skirt around a hard question.

  6. 6
    Lyanna

    There are so many things wrong with that statement. It’s thoroughly creepy on a number of different levels.

    But the one thing that’s pissing me off the most?

    It’s Dr. Halappanavar, you sexist twits. Have the courtesy to give your victim the title she’s earned.

  7. 7
    jamessweet

    the equal right to life of both a mother and her unborn baby

    There’s your money quote right there. It’s not just that the mother and the unborn baby both have some rights, it’s that a woman’s rights are no greater than the rights afforded to a mass of nonviable human tissue.

  8. 8
    docslacker

    I’ve been visiting The Irish Times website on a daily basis for a week or so now. The horror stories documented there… A man recounts how he lost his wife to cancer because doctors refused to treat her because it might harm the foetus… women who nearly lost their lives in the exact same situation as Dr. Halappanavar… The list goes on and on.

  9. 9
    Valde

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/28/documentary-shows-catholic-positions-on-abortion-contraception-are-relatively-new/

    Well, it looks like the catholic church hasn’t *always* been in favour of women dying from a pregnancy

    from the article:

    “On the issue of abortion, the documentary explains that the Catholic Church had a more pro-choice approach during the 16th century than it does now. At the time, the church believed in a wide range instances where abortions were permissible. Later in the 17th century, scientists came to believe that the fetus was conceived in its final form and merely enlarged over time. As a result, the Catholic Church took a more prohibitive view on abortion. Though our understanding of fetal development has changed dramatically, the Church has not changed its position.”

  10. 10
    hypatiasdaughter

    So, will the Bishops next statement be to repudiate self-defence laws because even “alleged criminals” have a heart beat and a right to life that is on a par with their “potential victims”?
    I mean, an attacker might not KILL you, just hurt you a lot – so any pre-emptive attempt to defend yourself that causes the death an attacker “is gravely immoral”.

  11. 11
    Eamon Knight

    Later in the 17th century, scientists came to believe that the fetus was conceived in its final form and merely enlarged over time. As a result, the Catholic Church took a more prohibitive view on abortion.

    Ah, so these would be the “new advances” anti-choicers like Stephen Woodworth keep talking about, that should cause us to bring back abortion restrictions? ‘Cuz being 400 years out of date is about par for the course for these people….

  12. 12
    Valde

    #10 “I mean, an attacker might not KILL you, just hurt you a lot – so any pre-emptive attempt to defend yourself that causes the death an attacker “is gravely immoral”.”

    Nope, b/c the attacker isn’t innocent, like a fetus

    BUT, in watching that video, one of the church fathers believed that the very act of sex was sinful, and that the ONLY reason people should be allowed to have sex is for procreation (the churh realized that they could not stop people from wanting to have children). However, since sex is so sinful, the children born of ‘passion’ are also born sinners, b/c the act of sex is so dirty, the result of sex is also dirty and horrible!

  13. 13
    A Hermit

    At best the Bishops’ position seems to be that women facing a potentially lethal gynecological complication should opt for more intrusive, riskier procedures which “indirectly” abort a fetus than choose a less intrusive, safer procedure which “directly” aborts the fetus.

    In other words, the evil little bastards value semantic correctness over women’s actual health and well being…

  14. 14
    eric

    From the statement:

    Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.

    Now, for my two arguments I’m going to treat (and write) the foetus as a human person fully deserving of protection and rights – because even if that’s the case, what the hospital did is still odious and immoral.

    One: when your own hospital’s Catholic doctors determine that the foetus is nonviable, then you have made every effort to save the foetus and those efforts have failed. Period. End of story. At that point the Catholic church and hospital must recognize the concept of triage. Triage is what they should have done. They should have divided the patients into the appropriate categories – one who is likely to die regardless of treatement given vs. the one for whom immediate treatement would make a difference – and given priority to the latter. Very importantly, the mere act of conducting triage does not dehumanize people or challenge their status as a human being. You can do it on two humans even if you think they both have an equal right to life.

    Two: you do not force a living person to die out of a warped desire to “save” someone who is, in practical terms, already dead. If someone has received a fatal radiation dose, you don’t force a perfectly healthy EMT to retrieve them if it means the EMT’s life. The EMT might make an informed choice to do so, but no state or medical agency forces them to commit suicide to save someone already dead; that is considered profoundly unethical and a violation of the EMT’s rights. Neither the EMT’s or the victim’s status as a human being has anything to do with it. The same thing applies here: had it been the mother’s choice not to receive such treatment out of a (vain) hope that the doctors were wrong about non-viability, that is one thing. But the hospital committed a crime when it forced her to risk her life over someone who was already, in practical terms, dead.

  15. 15
    Hank_Says

    It is better to remain silent and be thought of as an irrelevant, hateful, clueless, murderous, ghoulish fucking anachronism with no functional conscience than to open your mouth and not only remove all doubt, but to stab that doubt to death and stomp on its bloodied corpse.

    - Mandrellian

  16. 16
    Jon Jermey

    But Bobo, how do you know the foetus is ‘innocent’? Clearly if if a blob of half-a-dozen cells can be endowed with a human soul then it can also be endowed with a moral attitude. It might be a right bastard, out to cause its mother as much agony as possible, even unto their mutual extinction. No, the church can’t slide out of a contradiction with unfounded presumptions of ‘innocence’.

  17. 17
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    I feel their pain, like a little tiny heartbeat.

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    So the Irish Times is running a lot of “no abortion for you” horror stories? I’ll have to check that out.

  19. 19
    Valde

    #16 “But Bobo, how do you know the foetus is ‘innocent’? Clearly if if a blob of half-a-dozen cells can be endowed with a human soul then it can also be endowed with a moral attitude. It might be a right bastard, out to cause its mother as much agony as possible, even unto their mutual extinction. No, the church can’t slide out of a contradiction with unfounded presumptions of ‘innocence’.”

    well thats the thing, according to church doctrine, the fetus is not innocent, its the product of sin, so is therefore sinful

    which means all the bullshit about ‘killing an innocent baby’ is just that…modern bullshit

  20. 20
    Gordon Willis

    Nope, b/c the attacker isn’t innocent, like a fetus

    BUT, in watching that video, one of the church fathers believed that the very act of sex was sinful, and that the ONLY reason people should be allowed to have sex is for procreation (the churh realized that they could not stop people from wanting to have children). However, since sex is so sinful, the children born of ‘passion’ are also born sinners, b/c the act of sex is so dirty, the result of sex is also dirty and horrible!

    What’s more, O bobo, the doctrine of original sin makes it impossible for a foetus to be innocent, even if conceived immaculately (Oh, but wait, no…well, all right, sometimes immaculacy counts*). But anyway, your basic foetus is originally sinful; its sin is not merely the result of its icky sexual origin, for the mere fact that it is human makes it guilty of the sin of Adam (he listened to his wife, so therefore all men are preconditioned to listen to their wives, and that’s just wrong, so wrong, and those women and would-be wives just have to pay for all their evil and nasty thinking and talking and yuckiness and…oh bugger, what a stupid emotive neurotic guilt-ridden cowardly arrogant self-justifying mess it is…)

    You see where this goes? Women, the helpmeets and spare ribs of men, cannot be allowed to have minds of their own, because they talk to snakes. And we know where that leads. So they have to stick to their roles as helpmeets (and spare ribs), which is to say, adjuncts of proper people, namely, US MEN (I’M A MAN, SO START KOWTOWING, ALL YOU PATHETIC FEMALES!!!). And we men need sons and heirs, so naturally women can’t be allowed to abort foetuses just because it happens to suit them. The very idea! Who said “sanctity of life”? Genius! Just what the doctor ordered. No, no — I mean, just what God ordained, of course. Obviously. It’s wicked and sinful to think anything else.
    .
    * Yes, I know, but what about Him?

  21. 21
    Liakos

    Heya simply wanted to give you a timely heads up and allow you to know a number of the pictures typically are not loading accurately. I’m not sure how come but I contemplate its a new linking problem. I’ve tried it in two numerous browsers and even both indicate the same outcome.

  22. 22
    Valde

    #20 ” (I’M A MAN, SO START KOWTOWING, ALL YOU PATHETIC FEMALES!!!)”

    Gordon, as a woman, I believe everything you just wrote. How could I not ? :P

  23. 23
    Slow Learner

    Seconding Lyanna at #6 – they’re so, so sad that they can’t be fucked to address her correctly.
    “Mrs” Halappanavar, indeed.
    Refusing to address people correctly is a sign of dis-respect, whether it is by refusing to use their chosen name (as discussed by Christina on WWJTD today), or by not granting someone an honorific which they have earned.

    But of course, Savita was just a woman – how could she have a qualification or higher learning equal to that of, say, a priest with his studies into theology?
    Fuckers.

  24. 24
    iknklast

    not granting someone an honorific which they have earned

    Common. Very common. My mother for years railed at a cousin of mine (a woman) because she always addressed herself as Dr. and Mrs. even though both had a doctorate (my cousin). Yet once I earned my doctorate, I continued to get letters and cards from this same mother to Mr. and Mrs. My cousin, the doctor, chose not to use her honorific, to my mother’s horror. I wasn’t given the choice.

    Where I teach, students insist on calling me by my first name, even though not given leave to (I used to, but it breeds so much bad behavior, because you think you’re their friend, I stopped). But one student, who continually addressed me by my first name, was talking to me one day and said “Oh, I just can’t call Mr. [Economics teacher] by his first name, even though he wants us to.” She didn’t see the sexism inherent in that remar, that she was talking to a Ph.D. as an equal, but couldn’t regard this other, not Ph.D. but male, teacher as an equal.

  25. 25
    Valde

    #24 back when I was in college,I always insisted on calling my teachers by their last name, even when everyone else called them by their first name – and the teachers seemed to be comfy with it

    it just felt wrong to me, and disrespectful, to refer to the teacher by anything else other than his/her last name

  26. 26
    Valde

    #24 and I just reread what you wrote, omg, how sexist of her! to automatically treat you as an equal b/c youre female, and to give him more respect..ugh!

  27. 27
    Ian MacDougall

    But remember that God takes his orders from the Church, not the other way round.

    “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven.”

    Mathew 16:19
    http://www.catholicbible101.com/thouartpeter.htm

    The Church could declare that a fetus was a cocker spaniel, a mulberry bush or whatever, and God would have to agree. He has left himself no option there.

    So the Church declares the fetus to be what it suits the Church for it to be.

  28. 28
    Ophelia Benson

    Does god ever tell the church, You’re not the boss of me?”

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