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Nov 17 2012

Religion Kills

Indians are saying medical negligence and not the religion should be blamed for Savita Halappanavar’s death.

Religionists defend religions.

But sane people know very well that religion corrupts everything. Even doctors do not practice medical science properly if a religion ever gets a chance to grab them. Politicians become insane if they are influenced by religion. I agree with what PZ Myers says:

‘there was no hope for the fetus at all. Yet they refused to do the one simple, ethical procedure that would have saved Halappanavar’s life..Because doctors had been indoctrinated since childhood in lies that were shown to be false during their medical training, but which they could not overcome; because hospital administrators put their faith above their obligation to serve patients; because lawmakers in that country shied away from learning how their policies killed women; because a mob of celibate old puppetmasters don’t give a damn about anything other than their theology and will happily sacrifice human beings on the altar of their vile and backward religion. ..The end result: a septicemic infection swept through the gaping wound of Halappanavar’s cervix, killing her, after days of agony. The pope and his bishops, and the faithful Catholics in that hospital, killed her as surely as if they’d taken a scalpel to her throat — which would have been a more merciful death than the misery they put her through. Monsters, every one of them.’

All religions are barbaric and backward. Time came long ago to save humanity from religions but we did not move our butts. We are now paying the price for being cowards.

37 comments

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  1. 1
    jb

    It amazes me that people are actually saying that the church had no influence on this – that secular Ireland is wholly to blame.

  2. 2
    hopeleith

    How can they call Ireland secular when the Catholic church still dominates the school system, for example. 95% of Irish people got their education in an overtly Catholic system.

  3. 3
    mynameischeese

    Can’t wait for the church to get out of Ireland once and for all.

  4. 4
    mnb0

    Ophelia Benson has shown that those catholic mitres are directly responsible:

    “48. In case of extrauterine pregnancy, no intervention is morally licit which constitutes a direct abortion.”

    Page 27 of Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
    It’s sickening.

  5. 5
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    medical negligence and not the religion should be blamed for Savita Halappanavar’s death.

    It is malpractice, but not in error or simple negligence. It is accomplished by policy. Policy driven by belief. Catholic belief. And there is very little which is non-religious to recommend these beliefs and policies. Sure, it’s patriarchal, but this level of stupid is only driven by myth and dogma.

  6. 6
    davidmarshall

    The myth and dogma here is the secularists.

    “Sane people know very well that religion corrupts everything.”

    Perhaps sane, unschooled fanatics who have never cracked a history book in their lives know this.

    Those who have read history, and are prepared to accept it, know that it was Christians who fought against the burning of widows in India, foot-binding in China, human sacrifice in Africa, raised the status of women around the world, educated billions of people (as implicitly admitted above, without pondering the significance — you don’t think those billions of lives have been improved by education?), ended slavery, helped undermine and overthrow communist tyranny, invented modern science, spread democracy (see Robert Woodberry), helped billions of people in their individual lives, given hope and joy and ended drug addictions for people I know — just to get started.

    Be atheists, if you like. But don’t embrace such absurd simplifications of reality, please.

    Human beings are naturally oppressive to one another, and became no less so under atheist regimes. The Gospel has served as the greatest force for reform in human history.

    1. 6.1
      jb

      hey david, why dont you tell us about slavery and the church

      specifically, how the church owned slaves

      also, tell us about how the church took children as a tithe, and raped and tortured and enslaved those children

      waiting…

    2. 6.2
      Shakatany

      Not to mention the slaughter by the church of the Cathars, the thousands who were tortured to death in the Inquisition and the witch trials. Yes that happened a few centuries ago but what about the horrors of the Magdalene laundries and all the pedophilia that was ignored to keep the church’s reputation? As Lord Acton says “power tends to corrupt” and for millennia the church had a lot of power.

    3. 6.3
      mynameischeese

      Christianity “raised” the status of women, did it? And “educated” the masses in Africa? (Pro-tip: If you actually read one of those history textbooks, you’ll find that Christians actually “colonised” Africa.)

      But thank you for that entertaining (absurd) similification of reality there.

      1. jb

        How about all the dead and dying people in Africa thanks to the churchs no condoms’ rule?

        1. gwen

          He missed the pedophiles…I can’t believe he missed ALL the pedophiles hidden and shuffled around by the church. The deeper into the past we look, the more hidden pedophiles we find…

          1. jb

            he thinks that its perfectly acceptable for some people to do bad, as long as the rest do good

            so an organisation can go around raping, murdering, and enslaving people, but if it gives some freebies to the poor we can just forget about the bad stuff, right?

    4. 6.4
      sparks

      davidmarshall–Who wrote the history that you’ve read and cite here?

      I need say anything more than has already been said here with the possible exception that your religious point of view might be quite comforting to you but it has nothing whatsoever to do with reality. If you’d care to explore it I’m sure you’ll find reality much more challenging and infinitely more rewarding.

    5. 6.5
      unbound

      “Those who have read history, and are prepared to accept it, know that it was Christians who fought against the burning of widows in India” – but was perfectly content with burning women as witches?

      “foot-binding in China, human sacrifice in Africa” – but is happy to promote massive numbers of deaths in Africa by not only refusing to promote use of condoms, but actually demonize the use?

      “raised the status of women around the world, ” – the misogynistic christian faith raised the status of women? Sorry, this is simply a lie overall.

      “educated billions of people (as implicitly admitted above, without pondering the significance — you don’t think those billions of lives have been improved by education?)” – Yes, amongst the substantial evils christians have inflicted in this world, they have educated many…but not billions.

      “, ended slavery” – like women’s suffrage, this was started by secular people…the vast majority of christians were opposed to ending slavery (as well as opposed to truly allowing women to become the equals of men).

      “, helped undermine and overthrow communist tyranny” – now this one is just plain funny

      “, invented modern science” – people who happened to be christian invented modern science. As a matter of policy, christianity has been (and continues to be) opposed to modern science (except when it suits it’s needs)

      “, spread democracy (see Robert Woodberry)” – christians have never spread democracy, they are opposed to it. When have the masses of christians ever voted on matters of christianity? Never. Only the leaders get a vote.

      “, helped billions of people in their individual lives’ – and hurt at least as many.

      “, given hope and joy and ended drug addictions for people I know — just to get started.” – brainwashing doesn’t count as giving hope and joy. So far your start is packed full of lies and cherry-picking. Care to add any more lies and cherry-picking?

      1. Nathanael

        In fact, all the early scientists were treated more or less as heretics by the Catholic church. Those lucky enough to live in countries where the government was not run on a religious basis, such as post-Restoration England, or the portions of Germany where an uneasy truce had been made between Catholics and Protestants, or the openly anti-religious post-1789 France, were able to continue doing science.

      2. jb

        quote: ““, helped undermine and overthrow communist tyranny” – now this one is just plain funny”

        well, if Reagan and Jesus are the same person, sure! :P

  7. 7
    davidmarshall

    I was responding to the following complex and nuanced opinion:

    “Sane people know very well that religion corrupts everything. Even doctors do not practice medical science properly if a religion ever gets a chance to grab them. Politicians become insane if they are influenced by religion.”

    Now it is a plain historical fact that Christians have founded hospitals around the world that have helped billions of people. It is also a plain historical fact that modern democracy grew out of both the more limited Greek experiments, and the philosophy and institutions of Christianity, as Robert Woodberry proves rather robustly.

    And yes, Christianity DID raise the status of women around the world, as I show empirically in print in several places, and in a series of blogs entitled “How Jesus Liberated Women.” Hundreds of responses so far, no genuine rebuttals.

    Have people who saw themselves as Christians also done lots of bad things? Sure. How could the most influential religion in the world not be implicated in some of the normal human perversity? Lord Acton was a Christian, he understood that, and I’m not denying his point. But there’s such a thing as seeing the forest without overlooking the trees.

    1. 7.1
      jb

      Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
      Colossians 3:18; cf. 1 Peter 3:1 and Ephesians 5:22

      … I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man … For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
      1 Corinthians 11:3 and 7-9

      Let your women keep silence in churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
      1 Corinthians 14:34, cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3-9 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12

      In line with these statements women were until recent times not permitted to speak in church, and they are still expected to cover their heads in traditional churches. Under Christian emperors and bishops the rights that women had enjoyed under the Roman Empire were gradually pared away. As early as the fourth century it was decreed by a synod that women should neither send nor receive letters in their own name (Synod of Elvira, canon 81 ). They were also confined to minor Orders and forbidden to sing in church. Later they would be deprived of Holy Orders altogether. By 581 a Church Council at Macon was debating whether or not women had souls. Church law followed the bible.

      The great Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas taught that women were defective men, imperfect in both body and soul. They were conceived either because of defective sperm or because a damp wind was blowing at the time of conception*. Leading scholars accepted Aquinas’s teaching that women had a higher water content than men and that this made them sexually incontinent*. Since they were so watery, weak and unreliable it became a fundamental premise of canon law that they were inferior beings. Following Aquinas*, canon law decreed that women could not witness a will. Neither could they testify in disputes over wills, nor in criminal proceedings Generally women suffered the same sort of legal disabilities as children and imbeciles. They could not practice medicine, law or any other profession, nor could they hold any public office. Here is a piece of reasoning from two famous Roman Catholic scholars: after saying that women are intellectually like children, they explain why women are given to the practice of witchcraft

      Women, as inferiors to and possessions of men, were not free to choose their own marriage partners:

      Only those who have authority over a woman, and from whose custody she is sought as wife, can make a lawful marriage.
      (Decretum gratiani, Case 30, q V, C1)

      ——
      you were saying?

      1. davidmarshall

        JB: These look like quote-mined skeptical talking points, not like careful and serious scholarship. For instance, you cite three NT passages; Part V of my series cites EVERY Gospel passage related to the status of women. That’s how to avoid cherry-picking.

        A dozen years ago or so, when I was batting this issue around with an atheist historian, she recommended to me a book by Frances and Joseph Gies: Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages. I bought the book, then told her in surprise: “The book you said I should read, actually portrays the influence of Christianity on the status of women in the Middle Ages as being pretty positive!”

        She replied:

        “I’m an historian! Did you think I’d cite bad scholarship?”

        Cultivate the same attitude towards history, and then get back to me.

        1. unbound

          Your cherry-picking does not mean you have a more complete argument. Nice try.

        2. Nathanael

          Christianity’s influence has varied over the centuries, as the religion has been repeatedly reinvented.

          Roman Catholicism has been primarily a bad influence on the world ever since the Pope became a secular king with his own domain (something which does tend to corrupt); he’s never renounced those claims to power. The authoritarianism is the biggest problem there, with religion being used primarily as an excuse for even greater degrees of tyrrany and unaccountability — a common problem, one which you will recognize if you study Scientology.

          The behavior of Christians in the early days, prior to the Pope becoming a secular lord, is a different, complicated, and practically irrelevant matter; the religion as practiced then is barely recognizable today.

          The various Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches have their own histories.

        3. jb

          You are funny David

          And guess what, I have read those passages too

          And you know what…they didn’t make a difference now did they? Women were STILL considered inferiors

          And, as stated above, women lost rights that they had previously held..under the Romans

    2. 7.2
      mynameischeese

      First, you need to find out what “empirically” means since you didn’t empirically demonstrate anything.

      Then you should read some of those history textbooks you’re so fond of talking about (but not so fond of reading, I guess).

      Yes, Christians founded early hospitals. So that they could treat crusaders who wanted to drive muslims from the “holy” land.

      1. Bill Openthalt

        Muslims who had previously driven christians out of the “holy” land, who had previously driven jews out of the “holy” land, who had previously driven the Canaanites tribes out of the holy land, etc. All abrahamic “holy” books are replete with waging war on non-believers.

    3. 7.3
      Nathanael

      “It is also a plain historical fact that modern democracy grew out of both the more limited Greek experiments, and the philosophy and institutions of Christianity, as Robert Woodberry proves rather robustly. ”

      This is a bogus claim. Modern democracy can be traced to Greek and Roman antecedents (which were widely cited by the people establishing the democracies in the UK, the US, and France), and there are convincing arguments tracing it to Iroquois tradition, and to pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, among other sources. But there is absolutely zero credible trace to the institutions or philosophy of Christianity, which operated almost entirely in a pro-authoritarian, anti-democratic mode from Constantine until the Reformation, with essentially no exceptions.

      I suspect you and Woodberry have deliberately misread your sources to support your pre-existing worldview — let me guess, Christian believers?

      1. Nathanael

        Citations to people from the early democratic period claiming that “God endowed us with free will” and “God gave us fundamental rights” don’t count, because the former idea predates Christianity (and monotheism), and the latter has no direct antecedent in Christian tradition, being lifted from Greek sources.

  8. 8
    davidmarshall

    Cheese: “Empirically” means that someone who tells a man who reads history books for a living that he doesn’t read them, based on no knowledge of that person, or what books are on his shelves or before his eyes, is not worth wasting breath on.

    1. 8.1
      mynameischeese

      Nope. That is not what empirically means. Take yourself to a dictionary.

      1. jb

        I have not read Twilight, but when I do, that will count as ‘empirical’ knowledge about the behaviour of Vampires, right?

        1. mynameischeese

          LOL!

  9. 9
    MarkH

    Well, medical incompetence and religion killed this woman. Religion set up a situation in which her life would be put in danger, and medical incompetence missed the clear point at which even the rules that exist in Ireland would have allowed intervention.

    If we believe the timeline, she checked into the hospital at 17 weeks, fully dilated, so the chance for viability of the fetus was 0%. She was miscarrying, irrevocably, irreversibly. At this point, because this doomed fetus still had a heartbeat, they said, “oh we can’t do anything”. 90% of the time, this would be fine, she would finish miscarrying, and it would just be an example of awful, callous treatment of a woman for the sake of a dead baby because of religion.

    However, the delivery of the dead baby did not progress. This was the second opportunity for the doctors to act, and they could easily have argued that after 48 hours of failure to deliver she is stuck, and D&E is now a lifesaving procedure. They should have pulled the trigger, or had the cajones to dress the janitor in a white coat, call him a their “specialist ultrasound technician” and then “fail” to find the heartbeat. Sorry, but sometimes medical ethics should trump the law. If someone is dying and you can help, you help them. If you’re going to run up against a stupid law, too bad. If you can’t handle this very difficult (not) ethical quandary don’t be a doctor. Again they failed to act.

    But that’s not the worst part. Then, 3 days in, if the timeline is correct, the patient falls to the floor shaking. This is called “rigors” and is life-threatening sepsis until proven otherwise. One of the critical aspects of the treatment of sepsis according to the surviving sepsis guidelines, and a fundamental axiom of surgery is source control. If you are septic from an infection, the most important steps are resuscitation, culturing organisms, rapid administration of antibiotics, and, in cases such as these, removal of the source of the infection! At this point, no one could possibly say her life was not under threat because of the pregnancy. Even according to their own laws, they should have acted here. But what did they do? They waited another half a day before removing the dead, infected, retained products of conception. Not a baby. Not a little soul, but a dead piece of tissue that was killing her.

    So, religion lined up this disaster, but medical incompetence drove it home.

    1. 9.1
      dianne

      I agree. There were a number of massive screw ups in Halappanavar’s medical care-almost certainly more than we know about now, not having access to the chart. This makes me think that her case isn’t “just” about abortion. It’s also about racism and sexism.

      Even if one takes as a given that the fetus can’t be removed until its heart stops beating-which I don’t, but even accepting that for now-this case demonstrates terrible malpractice. A woman comes in with rupture of the membranes x 24+ hours and they don’t start her on prophylactic antibiotics? They know that they perform the abortion as soon as possible (i.e. as soon as the fetal heart tones are absent) but they don’t put her on continuous monitoring? She has rigors and nausea and generally looks septic and they don’t move her to the ICU?

      Basically, Halappanavar was undertreated from start to finish, even taking into account the murderous laws of Ireland. There are times when, for one reason or another, surgery to remove an infected source has to be delayed. In that case, the patient is put in the ICU, monitored very closely, given antibiotics, and supported as far as possible. And, of course, the surgery happens as soon as possible.

      This was not done for Halappanavar. Why? Did the doctors see her as a hysterical foreigner? Did her very request for an abortion make them take her less seriously and assume that she was exaggerating symptoms? Were they so poorly trained that they didn’t know what to do when someone came in septic? Personnel from this hospital had recently hosted a conference stating that abortion was never necessary to save the mother’s life. Did their devotion to this medically dubious statement cause them to ignore the reality in front of them?

      Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the medical personnel involved did not do their best. Even within the confines of Irish law, even assuming they genuinely believed that a nonsentient bit of tissue with a heartbeat was worth risking a woman’s life for, they didn’t do what they could. There is an almost unanswerable malpractice lawsuit here along with clear evidence that the claim that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life is completely untrue.

  10. 10
    Valde

    And for David Marshall:

    if your church cares so much about women, why has there never been a female pope? why do priests get retirment benefits but nuns do not? why is there such resistance to women in any kind of priestly role across most christian denominations?

    hm, if women really were considered ‘separate but equal’ in christianity you would think they would have the same power in the churches that men do…

    1. 10.1
      davidmarshall

      Bobo: Who said I’m Catholic?

      My claim is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has improved the lives of billions of women. Why should I care about female popes? Why should an atheist even want women to waste their lives, being popes?

      1. Valde

        Noone said you were catholic

        but the point still stands

        if christians considered women to be full equals there would never have been any problem with females gaining power in the church, period. across ALL denominations

  11. 11
    Marianne

    I hope the doctors will be charged with murder or at least manslaughter. We must hope they are not still practising. Savita begged for help. They said ”This is a Catholic country.” Even had that been true, it was not obvious why they could not administer anti-biotics.

    It’s depressing to see sites where people say ‘the doctors are heroes’ or accuse ‘the baby killers’ of exploiting this ‘tragic death’ which has nothing to do with Catholicism. In 1992 a fourteen year old rape victim was forbidden from seeking an abortion in the UK because the Irish constitution upheld the foetus’ right to life. Pious Catholics said ”She’s not a rape victim;she’s a slag” and the like. The distressed girl was on the point of suicide.

    It was finally held that she could have an abortion as the suicide threat was real and a risk to her own life. Since then, abortion has been legal in Ireland to save a woman’s life. Savita’s doctors held to the increasingly common Catholic view that a preganancy can never threaten a woman’s life. As death in childbirth was once very common, this view must be based on dogma not fact. They probably believe that condoms cause AIDS too.

    A Catholic blogger, Caroline Farrow, believes that feminists are ‘cissies’ who are too cowardly to spend al their lives barefoot and pregnant as she does. She can be heard spouting unfactual and dangerous nonsense on British TV shows.

    In fact the Catholic Church has only condemned abortion since there has been a danger of women participating in public life, by voting for instance. Even an extreme misogynist Father of the Church Tertulian was in favour of abortion to save a woman’s life.

    When the alleged Protestant Perotine Massey was being burnt as a heretic in Guernsey in 1555, the force of the flames caused her womb to explode, expelling a live baby which fell clear of the flames. The spectators picked it up and passed it from one to another, nonplussed. When it came to the arms of the Catholic master of ceremonies, he knew what to do. He threw it into the fire.

    After the death of the Catholic queen, he was tried for murder -of the baby. His defence was that he thought it had been condemned with its mother while in the womb. He had not heard of the sanctity of foetal life. It was not then Catholic doctrine.

    As late as 1960, Belgian Catholic nuns raped by insurgents in the Congo were given operations to prevent them from giving birth. It was not called abortion. It was called something else.

    Almost unbelievably Irishomen were better off under the Brehon laws in medieaval times than they have been in the modern republic. Although it would have been a terrible thing to do to anyone, it does seem subjectively worse because Savita was a Hindu. I don’t agree with Muslims or Jews mutilating their sons’ genitals without anaesthetic. But it would seem even more audacious if they held down -say- atheists or Buddhists – and did it to them too.

    My sympathy goes to Savita’s husband and parents. I won’t be bragging of my Irish blood again.

    1. 11.1
      Valde

      Interesting history!

      this especially:

      “In fact the Catholic Church has only condemned abortion since there has been a danger of women participating in public life, by voting for instance. ”

      seems to make sense!

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