Dec 18 2012

Yes, it is a sin

Cristina Odone is worried. What’s she worried about? She’s worried that Ireland is planning to change its abortion law – to legalize abortion when it’s necessary to save the woman’s life – on the basis of a mistake about what happened to Savita Halappanavar. Oh noes!

I’m a Catholic but I believe abortion has to be legal. Yes, it is a sin; and yes, there are women who use it as contraception. But the risk of having a long roll call of tragic deaths like Savita’s is too cruel to contemplate. Like divorce, abortion should be available, but reserved as a last-resort nuclear option – and when the mother’s life is in danger is precisely such a scenario.

The Irish U-turn over Savita’s death worries me, though. Is this the right result based on the wrong premise? As I have written here before, listening to the radio interview with the journalist who broke the story, we’re left with the distinct impression that she is not sure that Savita or her husband actually asked for, and were refused, a termination. Nor does she explain what condition the mother-to-be was in when she was admitted to hospital: in other words, was she healthy and her death was preventable by an abortion, or was she suffering from some other condition, which eventually killed her?

And that’s the thing to worry about, clearly. Could Parveen Halappanavar be all wrong, or lying, about what happened at Galway University Hospital? Or could Savita have had some other mortal illness that had nothing to do with her pregnancy and that nobody knew about or mentioned to Praveen? That’s the thing to worry about, rather than the possibility (or likelihood) that this has happened many times in Ireland without a Praveen to go to the media about it, and rather than the need to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.

That kind of thinking is the real “sin.”


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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    Simpler answer: catholicism is bollocks.

    There; fixed it for you!

  2. 2
    No Light

    I wish I could remember where I read that this happens scarily often. The maternal mortality stats look great, but that’s because deaths are put down to “infection” or something that appears entirely unrelated.

    But meh, a few dead bitchez, no biggie. I mean, some of those “preborn baybeeees” could be male!

    So much hate right now, and sadness,

  3. 3

    It should not have been up to the Halappanavar couple to request a termination. Termination was the STANDARD medical procedure for this case and should have been a) suggested and b) strongly advised and c) the alternative – death of Ms.Halappanavar – as the outcome if this were not done.

    As usual the execrable apologist Odone has it all wrong. But that has never stopped her from writing.

  4. 4
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    My comment there:

    If abortion is a sin, then shouldn’t it be something the government ought to stay out of, just like other “sins” such as divorce or adultery or gluttony or masturbation? If you want voluntary members of your church to confess and repent and say some Hail Marys or Pater Nosters to receive absolution for it, that’s fine by me, but no woman who wants an abortion at any point in her pregnancy for whatever reason should be prevented because of your religious doctrine. It’s a private matter between her and her doctor (and her god, should she believe in any).

  5. 5

    Disgusting and shameful equivocation on the part of Odone.

  6. 6

    I want Odone to cite the name of even one woman who, having good access to effective contraception, chose abortion as her method of birth control.

    Yet more denial of reality.

  7. 7

    Ugh, how disgusting. Yes, of course, the important thing is the theoretical possibility that Praveen is lying about everything, and not the fact that we have a dead woman who (by all appearances) was killed by Ireland’s abortion law.

  8. 8
    Tsu Dho Nimh

    @2 – ” The maternal mortality stats look great, but that’s because deaths are put down to “infection” or something that appears entirely unrelated.”

    The same thing happened with abortion, when it was illegal. I know of two – the only two I saw before Roe v. Wade, and the deaths were listed as “peritonitis” and “multiple organ failure” … no mention of the cause really being an abortion under unsafe circumstances.

  9. 9
    No Light

    Tsu Do Nimh – Yep. And here’s a developed country, in 2012, in the same state as it was 50 years ago. Sick.

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    I want Odone to cite the name of even one woman who, having good access to effective contraception, chose abortion as her method of birth control.

    What difference does it make? Birth control is morally neutral (if not a good in itself in most cases). Method ought not to matter to anyone but the woman herself.

  11. 11

    Correct, but what Odone claims (“some women will use it as contraception”) is a fantasy, another example of flight from reality and as non-existent a problem as voter fraud in the US.

  12. 12
    interior decorator

    You’re so cool! I do not believe I have read through a single thing like this before. So great to find another person with some original thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!|

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