In a letter to the editor, Maria Mahoney discusses the ongoing inquest into the death of Savita Halappanavar…
The HSE must be given full credit for beginning implementation of the Irish Maternity Early Warning System (I-MEWS) in hospitals throughout the country. Ireland, which is already a world leader in maternal safety, will now pioneer an effective and first class method for preventing maternal deaths by alerting staff to dangerous systems. While abortion campaigners have been hysterically demanding the legal right to terminate the lives of unborn children in the wake of the Savita tragedy, our hard-working doctors and under-staffed hospitals have been developing real solutions that protect both mother and baby. Doctors at the annual Irish Medical Organisation conference last Friday resoundingly rejected abortion proposals, pointing out that medical staff had a duty of care to all of their patients.
Savita’s case has nothing to do with abortion. What is at issue is whether or not delivery should have been expedited. This happens all the time in Ireland whenever this is the best chance for mother and baby surviving. Sometimes the baby does not survive because he or she is too premature, but doctors in Ireland always try to preserve the life of each tiny newborn. And every time they try, medical science advances a little further. Just thirty years ago it would have been unimaginable that a baby born at 21 weeks gestation could survive. Now babies delivered that early are beating the odds regularly. Maybe it will be an Irish doctor who becomes the first to save a baby born at 19 weeks… or 17.
The headlines and articles surrounding Savita’s death have been despicable and we should all join in condemning their recklessness and callousness. Respect and dignity must also be given to Prasa, Savita and Praveen’s unborn child. While abortion campaigners are ‘baying for the blood of Irish children’ (as one journalist put it in the aftermath of the tragedy) and using appalling, dehumanising language to refer to Prasa, Savita’s husband has been forced to appeal to the abortion lobby not to tarnish his wife’s name and memory by using her as the poster child for abortion. Any mother who has lost a child though miscarriage can appreciate the pain inflicted by cold and insensitive phrases such as ‘unviable foetus.’
Suppose a mother and baby fell into a river and were both drowning. A man repeatedly attempts to throw a life buoy to the baby even though he knows it is probably hopeless as the baby is too far away to reach and is nearly dead already. He doesn’t realise that the mother is close by and drowning as well, and so she perishes. Afterwards, he realises he might have been able to save her if he had been aware she needed help. Such a situation would be tragic, and hopefully people would learn from this mistake. But no one would be demanding laws to be sure there was no ‘overemphasis’ on saving drowning babies when it was too late to save them.
Concern about human life, whether born or unborn, is not a ‘Catholic’ thing. It is a human thing, and we can look at other countries if we want to see the result of abandoning our humanity.
Ultrasound Pro-Life Student Network