My adopted country let a 31-year-old woman die recently. I haven’t talked about it as I’m just… boggled. I need to talk about it, but how, where; where do I start?
A dentist, at 17 weeks pregnant, had terrible back pain and had to visit the hospital – twice – to have it confirmed that she was having a miscarriage. A baby at that age can not live on its own – the lungs aren’t developed enough. Her cervix was very dilated; wide open to infection, too. The natural process of contraction and expulsion during a miscarriage did not happen. She needed medical help. People are naming this necessary procedure an ‘abortion.’ I thought it was called dilation and curettage – and clearly the dilation part wasn’t even needed.
This was a planned and wanted pregnancy, and it went wrong. It happens. It happened to my best friend, and many others I know. It happens a lot.
But this time it happened in County Galway, Ireland. The couple believed that Ireland was a good country to have a family in. Savita didn’t want to lose her child, but she knew there was nothing she could do to save it. She went to the hospital. They confirmed there was no hope for her fetus. This was October 21.
But…it was still alive. There was a heartbeat.
For three days.
And three days is the amount of time it took for Savita to develop septicaemia , because the doctors would not remove the fetus and let her body recover from the miscarriage. They would not do the D & C until the fetus died. Savita herself did not die for four more days, not until October 28.
Three days of begging the medical professionals to save her life, three days of suffering and pain. Three days of mental agony, knowing that she had a dying baby inside of her. Then four days of isolation from her husband in ICU while she was dying from the system-wide infection.
She was told that “this is a Catholic country.” Apparently that means one heartbeat supersedes another. A quote, from her husband, published in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail: ‘Doctors refused the termination on the grounds that the foetal heartbeat was still present and being a Catholic country it is not permitted.
‘I tried to plead with the doctors that I am not Irish or a Catholic, so please help and terminate her pregnancy.’
Maybe it was because she was Hindu that they felt the need to explain just why they were so willing to murder her. Yes, murder. Wilful, intentional taking of a human life. This was not malpractice. This was not ignorance or accident. They knew what could happen and denied a medically necessary surgery for no other reason than religion.
I…just can’t wrap my head around this.