Spreading the blood around the neighborhood »« Her abdomen belongs to the state

She was not a human being with rights

Carol Hunt expresses her outrage in the Independent.

It is with horror and not a little fear that I try to understand what happened to a young woman in our country recently. Faced with a crisis pregnancy and for reasons which we are not able to disclose, this young woman was not in a position (as so many thousands of Irish women have done, and continue to do, before her) to head to the UK or further afield to get the medical attention she wanted.

She only discovered that she was actually pregnant during her second trimester and consequently became suicidal. Under our new, much touted compassionate legislation – so hard fought for, so grudgingly given – this young woman should have been allowed to have a termination within this State if three expert professionals on a panel agreed that there was indeed a risk to her life if she proceeded with her pregnancy.

She presented herself to the three expert professionals – but that still didn’t work.

That should have been the end to the girl’s trauma, but then, seemingly, the consultant obstetrician on the panel ruled against the two psychiatrists That’s correct. The person who is not at all qualified to comment on the mental health or suicidal risk of a patient got to call the shots. This person decided that the pregnancy was probably far enough for the baby to survive outside the womb. The law provides that once a baby can survive outside the womb then its right to life must also be taken into consideration.

So she stopped drinking and eating, so the state forced fluids on her, and she gave up and agreed to the C-section.

In the eyes, once again, of this State, she was not a human being with rights, devastating problems and a condition that could kill her – she was just a vessel who would be forced to give birth. During the debate to legislate for the X-Case I asked, A) as a woman who has been pregnant and B) as a women who has experienced mental illness, why I should not be given the right to life under the constitution?

Am I somehow a lesser person, with fewer rights under Irish law because my life-threatening illness is mental and not physical? I recall asking, if I became pregnant and suffered from suicidal ideation, would I be kept in a “pregnancy mill” until I could be delivered of a live baby?

I thought that the new legislation would mean women who were genuinely found to be in danger of death by suicide would be treated as people and not just baby-carriers.

Nope.

 

Comments

  1. lordshipmayhem says

    The holy patriarchy still lives on it the beliefs and power of its followers. All hail invisible, impotent, nonexistent sky fairy, the ultimate excuse for treating one’s fellow humans like dirt.

  2. Blanche Quizno says

    Olivia, you’re way more experienced in this realm than I am (complete n00b), but along the lines of women’s rights, my sister-in-law said something a coupla days ago while we were visiting that kind of floored me. She’s just come out as gay (no, that wasn’t a problem), and her husband walked out on her and their young son about 3.5 or 4.5 years ago – 2 weeks before Christmas. Well, he’s recently had a baby with another woman – in fact, they’d stopped seeing each other before she discovered she was pregnant! She waffled and vacillated, considered aborting, but ended up having the baby. Husband sued for sole custody, only managed joint. That’s the background.

    Under Minnesota law, any child born within a marriage is automatically the husband’s legal child. That means that, if the wife steps out with the milkman and becomes preggers with the milkman’s spawn, when said spawn is born, it is the husband’s legal child. There have been legal cases where the milkman’s paternity has been established, but because of society’s interest in children being properly provided for, the old, pre-DNA testing rule, that if the couple is married, the child is automatically the husband’s regardless, was upheld. The milkman could, of course, petition for visitation etc.

    Here’s the thing that surprised me. My s-i-l said, “Since that’s the case if the wife has someone else’s child, why don’t I as his wife get a claim on his child? She’s my son’s sister, after all.” And I thought, YEAH! Why SHOULDN’T she as the legal wife of the child’s father, get as much of a legal claim on HIS child as he would be assigned if it were HER child with someone else?

    Do you have a comment? My thoughts are still rather chaotic on the whole situation. Additional information: After they had their son, they were not able to make a pregnancy thereafter, though they both wanted more children. They were in the process of adoption when he walked, which put the kibosh on that project. She told him that, if he won sole custody, they’d all take off – him, her, the baby, and their son – and relocated to Colorado and make a new life. It’s a nice thought…

  3. Omar Puhleez says

    “They were in the process of adoption when he walked, which put the kibosh on that project. She told him that, if he won sole custody, they’d all take off – him, her, the baby, and their son – and relocated to Colorado and make a new life. It’s a nice thought.”

    Colorado. Excellent choice; a beautiful state, scenery wise & skiing-wise. Denver is at about the same altitude as the highest human habitation here in Australia..

  4. John Horstman says

    I thought that the new legislation would mean women who were genuinely found to be in danger of death by suicide would be treated as people and not just baby-carriers.

    I have a lovely Chunnel for sale…

    Genuine people (that’s a descriptor of outlook/behavior, not a commentary on the validity of their humanity) really do have trouble understanding the willfully-disingenuous, don’t they?

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