On October 21, a 31-year-old woman named Savita died in an Irish hospital after turning septic. She was pregnant and wanted to terminate the pregnancy because it was making her dangerously sick and doctors refused saying that Ireland is a “Catholic country” and is against abortion.
Now, I’m upset for a lot of reasons.
1. In Ireland it is legal to induce labor when a mother’s life is in danger, even if the unborn baby will likely die.
2. The Catholic Church teaches that it is permissible to carry out those procedures as well, when a mother’s life is in danger.
Pope Pius said in 1951: “the saving of the life of the future mother … should urgently require a surgical act or other therapeutic treatment which would have as an accessory consequence, in no way desired nor intended, but inevitable, the death of the fetus, such an act could no longer be called a direct attempt on an innocent life. Under these conditions the operation can be lawful, like other similar medical interventions — granted always that a good of high worth is concerned, such as life, and that it is not possible to postpone the operation until after the birth of the child, nor to have recourse to other efficacious remedies.”
The Catholic Herald states that this tragedy should not be made into a pro-abortion/anti-abortion issue. What happened to Savita was unjust and criminal.
From the same article: “Ireland, in fact, has one of the lowest death rates of mothers in pregnancy anywhere in the world. That didn’t help Mrs Halappanavar or her baby, both of whom were lost because normal medical practice in Ireland was not followed after a grossly misplaced application to her case, by those treating her, of a heretical misreading of Catholic moral law. These tragic deaths cannot justify the replacement of the world’s most civilised abortion law by the pro-death laws now almost universal throughout Europe. Catholics everywhere should pray for Ireland in these politically dangerous times”
So that is why I am angry.
We, as Catholics, need to understand our faith and then we need to share it with others. There is no error in Catholic doctrine, there is error in the perception of doctrine. There is error in the way we, as fallible human beings, carry out that doctrine.
But in the end it’s not about that, it’s about praying for Savita’s family and the immense loss they are facing because of this injustice.