I tried waiting a few days to blog about this issue, but I am still angry and so I write this post, even though there are many who, for various reasons, may think I don’t have a right to speak out.
It angers me to think of the pain poor Savita Halappanavar must have gone through.
It angers me to think of the array of emotions experienced by her husband Praveen over the past few weeks.
It angers me that if she hadn’t have died we probably wouldn’t know about her plight and the 20-year clock on X-case legislation would remain ticking.
It angers me that this story was able to be kept quiet for so long. Can you even imagine what would have transpired if this was put in the public domain during those four horrific days Savita was in agony?
It angers me that the media fail to make the distinction between “the abortion debate” and “the abortion argument”. The real debate is on the so-called “pro-choice side”, which consists mostly of rational, broad-minded people who see the topic as a complex one that requires mature discussion and who would have widely varying ethical views on the circumstances in which an abortion should be allowed to take place. The argument, which is what the media focuses on and labels as a debate, is between all the people I mention above on one “side” and on the other, the small minority of people who, through nothing less than misguided arrogance, call themselves “pro-life”, and who find themselves incredibly (and in many cases mysteriously) well-funded, and whose strategy involves name-calling and covering their ears refusing to listen to anything until they get their way.
It angers me that some people think this is purely a women’s issue, when around 50% of the babies in question are male, 100% of the babies’ fathers are male, and although I can’t put a percentage on this, I would say a majority of those fathers love their partners deeply and live through their pregnancy emotionally as much as is humanly possible (not to mention the fathers, brothers and other close male family members of the women concerned).
It angers me to hear people like journalist/Catholic Church apologist David Quinn repeatedly hurl the phrase “pro-abortion-legislation” at an elected representative on national radio knowing full well the people he is really speaking to won’t hear the word “legislation”.
It angers me that there is a body of doctors who support the “pro-life” agenda but when you present yourself to a hospital for a pregnancy you have no idea where the consultants you are dealing with stand on the issue. Perhaps there are ways of finding out but I very much doubt the majority of people know this.
It angers me that having had three children born here in Ireland, I have heard anecdotal evidence that some Irish hospitals are “pro-mother” and some are “pro-baby” – perhaps it isn’t true, but I have heard it enough times from enough different sources for there to at least be a discussion about it and clearly there isn’t one at national level.
It angers me that the “pro-life” hymn-sheet since Savita’s death has been to tell everyone, including (implicitly as they are too scared to actually say it) Praveen Halappanavar, to shut up and wait for the results of inquiries, most of which would seem to involve people with vested interests in either the hospital or the HSE.
It angers me that the likelihood of legislation being passed quickly is probably determined by the agenda of the Fine Gael party, who it seems would experience a back-bencher revolt and thus would want to get through its own laundry list in the Dáil first before even bringing such legislation to the house.
It angers me that Fianna Fáil, whose leader had his feet under the cabinet table for 14 of the 20 years Irish government did nothing about the X case (4 as Minister for Health), is saying anything on this issue.
It angers me that rather than stand with Labour and form a united front, Sinn Féin prefer instead to use political tactics to draw them out of the coalition, implying they have been serious about X legislation for years when I for one certainly haven’t ever heard them make it a front line issue.
It angers me that so many people are saying that they are ashamed to be Irish, understandable though such feelings may be. I may have been born in the USA, but I have lived here for 35 years, proudly consider myself Irish and would rather express my desire to get this situation resolved than express my shame.
May Savita and her baby RIP.