Thirty-one-year-old Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland’s University Hospital Galway in October after she was repeatedly denied medical care while suffering a miscarriage.
Halappanavar, an Indian who lived and worked in Ireland with her husband, began miscarrying around October 24, 17 weeks into her her pregnancy. Her cervix had dilated, she was leaking amniotic fluid, and a doctor said the fetus would not survive outside her body. She had the “shakes,” was “shivering” and “vomiting” for several days. Halappanavar and her husband repeatedly asked to terminate the pregnancy, but the hospital refused, telling her “This is a Catholic country” and they could not perform an abortion so long as a fetal heartbeat was detectable. On October 28, Savita Halappanavar died of septicemia (blood poisoning) and E.coli ESBL.
Women in Ireland have had a right to an abortion if their life is at risk since 1992, after an Irish Supreme Court ruling. But today, Ireland’s Minister of Health announced the Irish government will introduce a new law to clarify specifically that abortions are legal when the life of the mother is at risk. However, the health of the mother will still not be reason enough for an Irish doctor to terminate a pregnancy. That is still unacceptable. Keep reading »
Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, calling for birth control to be made available over-the-counter for women over age 18. He argues that if contraception was available over-the-counter, employers who object to covering BC in their health insurance plans would back off.
That idea makes sense. However, Jindal’s advocacy seems less about the principle of women’s reproductive rights and more about being butthurt that Democrats were able to use Republicans’ own words and beliefs to bludgeon them in the last election on the women’s rights issue.
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