Pro-life Movement Silent on Savita

It’s been a day since the news went viral about Savita Halappanavar. Thousands have come out to protest all over Ireland, demanding action on the X case. Damn near every blogger I know has written something about this. Politicians and doctors have made their statements.

And from the pro-life movement…silence.

Now I’m not saying that they’re cowards who prefer to allow women they consider unsatisfactorily pure to die silently, unable to paint them as heartless fiends, but it does seem odd that when the nearly 50,000 uterus havers a year die without a whole lot of media attention, they’re always there talking about killing babies, but the moment somebody with a name and a face that they can point to to say, “See? She didn’t murder her child!” arrives on the international scene, the room clears and suddenly there’s no voices to be heard.

Surely the Vatican, with it’s long tradition of standing up for the rights of the unborn has something to say about this being god’s will, right? Doesn’t Thomas Olmsted have a statement about the sanctity of life? So far, no response from the Vatican for this thing that happened in “a Catholic country.”

But wait, perhaps some of the prominent Catholic bloggers have something to say about this? I mean, they’re always rambling on about life and souls and whatnot. Let’s take a look at the Patheos Catholic channel and see what they have to say.

Let’s see. Fr. Dwight Longenecker spent yesterday begging for money to “spread the good word” (presumably that word was “septicaemia”), but he’s actually a priest so I expect he’ll spend a good portion of his time asking people to pay him to tell them stories.

Leah Libresco, former atheist who converted because she sees “Morality” as an anthropomorphic being or some such nonsense, tells us that this Sunday she officially joins the club that encouraged Savita’s death. Also, she plans to write about the arts and not football. I wonder where Morality was those three days while a woman was suffering horribly and doctors were refusing her life saving treatment? No answer here.

Mark Shea at Catholic and Loving It posted quite a few things yesterday. Surely he has something to say about this tragic death? No? Not even an acknowledgment that this woman’s unnecessary death is horrible and we should try to do better? Well, he does have a pro-life song that was posted, so surely that’s enough.

Calah Alexander discusses her workout routine. Marc Barnes again showcases his stunning lack of imagination while committing an equivocation fallacy. Elizabeth Scalia, Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal, discusses the USCCB’s “enthusiastic” support of the sainthood of Dorothy Day, which Day herself didn’t want.

Huh. None of them have anything to say about how followers of their faith, obeying unclear laws that the Church makes no effort to clarify, just let a woman suffer for three days and die horribly to protect a miscarriage. Not a one of them.

Maybe they were busy. I mean, it’s not like damn near every blogger at Freethought Blogs had something to say about it…actually, yes they did, Ophelia Benson most of all.

Friendly Atheist covered it. Libby Anne does yeoman’s work looking for responses from “pro-life” sites and their feelings on “life of the mother” exemptions. The STFU Conservatives Tumblr is one of the first places I read about it and they have been covering the protests since.

So, clearly there has been time for somebody to write something. Where is Tony Perkins? Shouldn’t Maggie Gallagher be holding a press conference like she does whenever she finds a pro-gay book in a school library? Bryan Fischer claims to be pro-life, where is he to say that this was a tragedy and to defend his opposition to having helped this woman?

Silence from all corners.

The fact of the matter is, these people can only thrive when the deaths are anonymous. The moment we had a name for one of the victims of their horrible and irrational beliefs, they needed to shut up and hide so nobody could ask them if Savita Halappanavar should have died, if it was god’s will, if they should have allowed her to be treated. They can’t answer these questions because the answers they would give would make them look like monsters if they were honest and undermine their message if they lied.

Fortunately, we are not silent. We who think human beings are worth more than dogma will not be quiet. The pro-life movement will, my guess within a month, be once again claiming that the life of the mother is never in danger enough to justify an abortion, so we have to be ready with just one word: Savita. Never let them forget the name of their victim. Never have a discussion where you don’t point out that irrationality killed a young woman.

Never be silent. Fill the silence left by the pro-life movement with the sound of her name.

Never forget this woman's name

20 thoughts on “Pro-life Movement Silent on Savita

  1. well there are a couple prolifers tweeting that its wrong for prochoice to use this as a rallying cry…..shldnt “politicize” it etc….does that count??

  2. Most of us have responsibilities outside the internet. In any case, one day is not a negligent amount of time to let a story build without blogging on it, and certainly is not the sort of smoking gun that proves we don’t care about women that you seem to think it is. In any case, here, The Anchoress answers your questions about how we feel. In this case we seem to be on the same side as you. Her death was tragic and seems to have been avoidable. If inducing delivery would have saved her life, it is not against Catholic teaching or our beliefs to induce the deliver in order to save her life. The hospital was negligent. No one is happy about the tragic death of this woman or her child.

    • Funny, most of the atheosphere seemed to find the time to discuss this. I mean, I know it’s very important to share the details of your workout routine, but perhaps some timely recognition of it might have been appropriate. From somebody. Mark Shea seemed to have the time to post quite a bit, but nothing about this. Anybody, really. Everyone is busy, everybody has responsibilities, and I respect that, but I also find it difficult to believe that nobody other than a few pro-life groups managed to find a moment to even write a cliche “our prayers are with her family.”

      As to the Anchoress’s answer, it’s precisely what I expected, which is that she shifts blame to the doctors who didn’t understand an incredibly unclear Catholic doctrine. On one hand, it says that in cases where the life of the mother is at risk, then it’s ok to abort the fetus. On the other hand, let’s examine the quote she brings up to demonstrate how very clear it is, “…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.”

      How many qualifiers are attached to that? How should doctors know if something is “urgent” enough to satisfy god? Could they be entirely sure that they couldn’t have “postponed” a little longer? If they don’t “postpone” long enough, rather than administering appropriate treatment immediately, will it endanger their immortal soul? I mean, look at the doctor, mother, and raped nine year old in Brazil who were all excommunicated for participating in an abortion, even though it was clear that a nine-year-old body can’t safely carry twins to term. Look at Bishop Olmsted who removed Catholic affiliation from a hospital in the US for performing an abortion on a woman who’s heart and lungs could have suddenly stopped if she tried to carry to term (and excommunicated a nun).

      Pretending that it’s so very obvious what Catholic doctrine is ignores the many examples when the Church has come down on people for similar cases and is nothing but a post hoc rationalization. Yes, the doctors did a poor job here, but they did a poor job because they allowed fear of what would happen to their fictional immortal soul get in the way of offering proper, evidence-based medical treatment. Trying to No True Scotsman your way around a Church that refuses to be clear about the Byzantine rules and regulations for when and how one administers medical care is not only ridiculous, but transparent.

    • Let us also not forget that she links to Fr. Longenecker who begins his piece with “The baby killers…”, thereby exemplifying the humility that Cardinal Dolan was calling for last week on social issues.

      I’m not saying that the pro-life movement doesn’t care that somebody died. I’m saying you don’t care enough to actually do something about it.

    • You’re mistaken. It is against Catholic teaching to knowingly terminate a pregnancy. Any action that will kill the child is seen as immoral. This is what’s led to a number of deaths in South American hospitals (as well as one excommunication is my memory serves me right)

    • That’s all very feel-good, but your own spokespeople are saying the opposite – claiming that a situation like Savita’s never happens, can’t happen. That is a lie. It’s a dangerous lie. It’s a lie that kills women. It killed Savita.

      You don’t get to stand behind people telling these lies, support them,never call them out… and then act appalled because a woman died due to them.

      You don’t get to advocate to have abortion illegal here as it is in Ireland and then pretend that laws threatening doctors won’t cause this exact same situation again.

      You don’t get to condemn (or support people who condemn) a little girl who got an abortion when the alternative was to die (and still not bring the babies to term) and then act offended when we somehow get the idea that, I dunno, you’re ok with letting women die instead of terminating an already-doomed pregnancy.

      If you’re really all that broken up about Savita’s, yes, tragic and avoidable death, put your money where your mouth is – speak out against those whose words and actions paved the way for that death.

  3. Pingback: Savita’s Death and Common Sense

  4. Well, I am very pleased to see that the Anchoress is being a bit more humane when talking about this case than she was when Margaret McBride was excommunicated for allowing an abortion that saved the life of a woman. At that time the Anchoress had this to say:

    “We believe that God wants both mother and child to live, but accept the possibility of other plans and even other—to us shocking—ideas, such as this one: What if that was all the life the mother was meant to have?

    That unthinkable question, asked in light of the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, is where, for Christians, the rubber may well meet the road. Can we accept and wholly trust that God “has a plan” for each of us, if only we do not impede his access into our lives? We are meant never to forestall God’s possibilities.”

    In this case I expected her to tell us that Savita Halappanavar had had all the life she was meant to have.

    • You know, I would think the same. But what do I know? It’s just snotty goading to point out that when an abortion is performed and the mother lives, it’s a grave sin, but when one isn’t performed and she dies, that’s not what Catholics believe. I’m sure there are complex theological reasons why the Church never seems to be to blame for anything, but also is the ultimate source of morality.

      Let’s have a link to the full article you’re quoting, for context.

  5. Judging by her article, Scalia seems to think that Savita Halappanavar could properly have been saved although the woman in Phoenix should have been left to die because induced delivery before viability is allowed by the Catholic church while abortion is not.

    This is not Catholic teaching. Here is the old Catholic Encyclopedia on the subject:

    “The teachings of the Catholic Church admit of no doubt on the subject. Such moral questions, when they are submitted, are decided by the Tribunal of the Holy Office. Now this authority decreed, 28 May, 1884, and again, 18 August, 1889, that “it cannot be safely taught in Catholic schools that it is lawful to perform . . . any surgical operation which is directly destructive of the life of the fetus or the mother.” Abortion was condemned by name, 24 July, 1895, in answer to the question whether when the mother is in immediate danger of death and there is no other means of saving her life, a physician can with a safe conscience cause abortion not by destroying the child in the womb (which was explicitly condemned in the former decree), but by giving it a chance to be born alive, though not being yet viable, it would soon expire. The answer was that he cannot. ………… “earnest and opportune provision is to be made to safeguard the life of the child and of the mother. As to the time, let the questioner remember that no acceleration of birth is licit unless it be done at a time, and in ways in which, according to the usual course of things, the life of the mother and the child be provided for”. Ethics, then, and the Church agree in teaching that no action is lawful which directly destroys fetal life. It is also clear that extracting the living fetus before it is viable, is destroying its life as directly as it would be killing a grown man directly to plunge him into a medium in which he cannot live, and hold him there till he expires.”

  6. “abortion stops a beating heart”….see the results of bumper sticker morality…..and foetal heartbeat laws like theyre trying yet again to pass, now in Ohio!! there is NO way they can be consistently prolife” & say it was okay to do a D&C on Dr. H while there was still time to save her , by their own slogans they HAD to let her code first, HAD to wait until that heart stopped beating to begin surgery….so the Anchoress is either lying her head off, or doesnt know what a d&c really is….

  7. ….see, if youre not coding then it isnt your LIFE that’s threatened, just your HEALTH & as we all know, mere HEALTH of the mother isn’t a good enough exuse for abortion!!

  8. Many women die in abortion clinics yet the media is not covering it and there is little coverage from those who consider themselves pro abortion. Pro life movement has not been silent on Savita’s death. Many individuals have commented and 2 pro life organisations have commented. People should stop claiming unless they have proof that she should of been saved if she had an abortion

    Ireland: Lack of Abortion Didn’t Kill Woman, Pro-Life Groups Say

    Groups: Abortion Would Not Have Prevented Savita’s Death

    • At the time of this writing, very few pro-life groups and individuals had said anything at all. Please read the article for details on the people I claim said nothing.

      As to “many women die in abortion clinics”, can you please tell me how many and cite it (reputable sources, please)? Also, can you not tell the difference between a medical procedure that goes poorly and being denied a potentially life saving medical procedure? It’s the difference between somebody dying on the operating table and somebody dying because the doctors refused to even try to save their life. One is tragic, but happens. The other is needless and cruel.

      What proof would satisfy you that aborting the child and sooner closing the gaping hole in Savita’s body rather than having a large, moist opening leaving inside of her available for every nearby microbe for days would have prevented her from getting an infection? My guess is that your standard of proof will be purposefully vague so you’ll always be able to say, “You can’t know an abortion would have saved her.”

  9. Pingback: Savita Halappanavar’s Death – Victory for the Irish Catholic “Pro-Life” Murder Brigade « Dead Wild Roses

  10. Pingback: Timmy Dolan Admits the Church is Failing | Reasonable Conversation

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