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Irish Hospital Refuses to Perform Abortion, Lets Woman Die

This is what the Republican Party wants for America
World • Views: 26,731

This horrifying story from Ireland is a grim warning of what’s in store for the United States if the Republican Party’s anti-abortion agenda is allowed to succeed: Woman ‘Denied a Termination’ Dies in Hospital.

Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Note the hospital’s reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states - to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It’s no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They’re working hard to make it happen, right now.

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91 comments

1 aagcobb  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:39:02pm

God's Will.//

2 jamesfirecat  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:40:37pm

re: #1 aagcobb

God's Will.//

Maybe if that God is Khorne.

3 OhNoZombies!  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:44:12pm

Same thing nearly happened to my mother-in-law at a local Catholic hospital.
Apparently, they were willing to let a mother with two living children die for the sake of a fetus that had no chance to live at all.

You know, because of family values and the sanctity of life.
Whatever.

4 CarleeCork  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:45:00pm

Coming soon to a state near you!

5 Skip Intro  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:49:00pm

This is all that bitch Eve's fault.

6 A Mom Anon  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:49:23pm

Sanctity of Life!!!!

They love the fetus(or the embryo),hate the child. I thought the first rule of medicine was "First Do No Harm" or something like that. What the hell is wrong with people? How could you watch suffering and do nothing? Especially when your job in medicine is supposed to be one of healer, not moralizer or scold. I really hope her husband has grounds to sue the bastards into oblivion.

7 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:49:38pm

God damn it. She was a Hindu, too. Her funeral is in India, so I think she might have been first generation, or second. And she dies in Ireland, a first-world country, for lack of an operation she could have probably gotten in India.

Ireland's abortion policy has been a mess forever and the government refuses to look at it. The old joke is that if they legalized it in Ireland then shares in Ryanair would drop in half. It's a grim joke, but it's true that in Ireland those women who have the resources can go to the UK (or Iceland) to have an abortion, but the very poor or otherwise unable to travel can't.

8 Sophist is the VillageGreen Preservation Society  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:50:04pm

When the Catholic Church says Obama is attacking their freedom of religion, this is the sort freedom they are talking about.

Fuck. That.

9 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:50:33pm

Another bit of women's history in Ireland:

Doctors used to break a laboring woman's pelvis.

10 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:52:13pm

re: #6 A Mom Anon

Part of this is the non-existent difference between "Danger to the woman's life" or "Danger to the woman's health". Ireland only allows abortion in the first circumstance. In this case, they judged that her health was in danger but not her life. They were wrong, and almost always, a threat to health carries a risk of death to it.

So Ireland will probably tut-tut about how this shouldn't have happened because her life was really in danger so really it was the doctor's fault, but the policy at large is what creates this climate of refusing women medical care on the grounds of mysticism.

I hope this case will shock Ireland enough. I doubt it will.

11 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:54:25pm

Same source the next day:

Savita Halappanavar’s husband Praveen has been trying to explain to their families back in India how his 31-year-old pregnant wife died

Praveen Halappanavar, husband of Savita, has spoken of how Ireland’s reputation as a “good place to have a baby” was among the factors in their decision to start a family here.

Speaking to The Irish Times yesterday from Belgaum in southwest India, where his wife was from, he said most of their friends in Galway had had babies here. The couple moved to Galway in 2008.

“All our friends, you know, had great stories to tell about the babies they had in Ireland. So we decided we’d go there. We had heard Ireland was a good place to have a baby. Most of our friends there had babies there and they’re all fine, and so we decided: have a baby in Ireland.”

[...]

12 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:56:09pm

re: #11 wrenchwench

“All our friends, you know, had great stories to tell about the babies they had in Ireland. So we decided we’d go there. We had heard Ireland was a good place to have a baby. Most of our friends there had babies there and they’re all fine, and so we decided: have a baby in Ireland.”

Oh Christ I can't deal with it, that's just too fucking sad. It's like when people from war-torn countries flee to the US and then get murdered. What the hell.

13 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:58:07pm

re: #3 OhNoZombies!

Same thing nearly happened to my mother-in-law at a local Catholic hospital.
Apparently, they were willing to let a mother with two living children die for the sake of a fetus that had no chance to live at all.

You know, because of family values and the sanctity of life.
Whatever.

My sister had an ectopic pregnancy removed at a Catholic hospital. No hesitation, from what I heard.

I can't help but wonder if the fact that Savita Halappanavar wasn't Irish and didn't look Irish had an impact on her treatment.

14 calochortus  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:58:19pm

I can't figure out why the Catholic Church still has members. Women's lives aren't valued. Pedophile priests are protected. Just what will it take for people to demand the Church shape up or die?

eta: I realize Savita wasn't Catholic, I just refer to the members of the religion who seem to think this is OK. Like her doctors.

15 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:59:19pm

re: #14 calochortus

It's a religion. For most people, it's not like changing your vote or where you shop for something. They really believe in it, so even if the church is corrupt they have no choice but to stick with the Church.

16 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:59:30pm

Hitchens is always proved more and more correct:

religion poisons everything

17 Vicious Babushka  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 12:59:34pm

re: #11 wrenchwench

Same source the next day:

Heartbreaking.

18 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:00:39pm

re: #16 Jolo5309

Hitchens is always proved more and more correct:

religion poisons everything

On this page:

Frank says:

Get smart and I'll f*ck you over, sayeth The Lord.

19 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:02:55pm

re: #11 wrenchwench

More:

Explaining to family in India what had happened had been very difficult, her husband said.

“[Savita] has a lot of doctors in her family, a lot of medical people – her uncle, her aunt, many people who are in medicine – and they are all asking, ‘How can this happen in the 21st century, when the medical field is so advanced?’ and ’Why didn’t they abort her?’

“So I had to explain the whole thing, about the law there and how the foetus is live . . . and they were all just, some people even laughed at me. ‘That’s crazy’, they said. And I just had to tell them, that’s the way it is, that unfortunately that’s the country we were in at the time.

“People keep asking me, ‘How could they leave the womb open for two days? There is a high risk of infection there.’

“A common thing I’m asked: ‘The mother’s life is a bigger life. They knew that they couldn’t save the baby. Why didn’t they look at the bigger life?’ ”

20 dragonath  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:03:31pm

Josh Marshall over at TPM has an interesting blurb up:

I’ll spare the jokes since Jennifer Rubin was possibly the most fulsomely pro-Romney person on this planet. And the love seems to have gone, gone away. But here’s what she hears about what else Romney’s been saying about Hispanics. And it’s apparently not pretty.

From the Post …

Frankly there have been whispers at the Republican National Committee and elsewhere that Romney has used even more grotesque language, suggesting that the loss is due to Hispanic voters who have become enamored with Obamacare.
Hrrrmm. “More grotesque.” How bad does it get? Are we still yet to hear the full Romney Unbound?

Oh jeez.

21 calochortus  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:04:21pm

re: #15 Obdicut

It's a religion. For most people, it's not like changing your vote or where you shop for something. They really believe in it, so even if the church is corrupt they have no choice but to stick with the Church.

Many people do leave one denomination for another, though. Catholics appear to be around the 9% mark. I'm surprised it isn't higher.

22 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:04:23pm

Note their reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states - to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It's no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They're working hard to make it happen, right now.

23 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:05:21pm

Hate to sound like a snarky atheist, but shaming and control of base desires (primarily sex) to create an arbitrary need for redemption at the personal level, extending it to government policy to assert control at the social, family, and political power level, and a desire for maximum reproductive throughput (with only half-ass regard for quality of life after birth) is a pretty common strain in all religions.

24 A Sockpuppet's Sockpuppet  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:06:32pm

re: #22 Charles Johnson

Note their reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states - to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It's no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They're working hard to make it happen, right now.

The heart begins beating well before the brain starts being 'human'.

25 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:08:20pm

re: #22 Charles Johnson

Note their reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states - to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It's no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They're working hard to make it happen, right now.

The little, tiny, non-viable heartbeat counted for more than the strong heartbeat of the immigrant dentist who came to Ireland because she heard it's a good place to have a baby. They didn't tell her it's a dangerous place to be a pregnant woman.

26 RadicalModerate  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:08:57pm

re: #9 Vicious Babushka

Another bit of women's history in Ireland:

Doctors used to break a laboring woman's pelvis.

First the good news: Irish women who had this procedure performed on them without knowledge or consent are starting to see legal relief.
Woman awarded €450k over symphysiotomy

And something that needs to be said - For anyone who claims that all of this is ancient history within Ireland, you might want to read this report. As recently as 2010, Ireland's Minister of Health flatly refused to inquire into its hospitals performing this barbaric procedure.

[Link: www.irishtimes.com...]

27 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:10:58pm

re: #23 Jaerik

Hate to sound like a snarky atheist, but shaming and control of base desires (primarily sex) to create an arbitrary need for redemption at the personal level, extending it to government policy to assert control at the social, family, and political power level, and a desire for maximum reproductive throughput (with only half-ass regard for quality of life after birth) is a pretty common strain in all religions.

You sound like a snarky atheist. Not all religious people, and not only religious people, have power and control issues.

/less snarky atheist

28 Killgore Trout  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:11:06pm

Abortion for Savita lawful, says legal expert
It would have been legal under Irish law for the hospital to abort.
Exactly what happened isn't known yet there are even accusations of racism.
The Savita Halappanavar tragedy: Dial down the outrage, please!
I'm a big fan of liberal abortion laws but there might be more to this story. I'll wait for the investigations.

29 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:13:02pm

re: #27 wrenchwench

You sound like a snarky atheist. Not all religious people, and not only religious people, have power and control issues.

/less snarky atheist

Never implied they did. I tend to be a polite atheist, in that you will never hear my opinion unless it's relevant to the conversation -- i.e. people commenting earlier in the thread about inconsistencies in the logic surrounding the church's stance on these things.

I simply said it was a common strain in most religions, and that's true. Never said it was as common strain in religious people. Most religious folks are quite decent and I wish them well.

30 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:13:07pm

re: #23 Jaerik

The phrase "pretty common strain in all religions" is incoherent. It's a common strain in religion, but control over the family level is in no way reserved for religion. Eugenics programs were popular in Europe for quite a long time-- Sweden closing theirs down only in the '70s. Sterilization of Roma women still occurs in Eastern Europe. And obviously, China's "One child per family" doctrine was a gigantic assertion of control over the family.

In addition, there are plenty of major religions that don't really have much to say about a maximum reproductive throughput, besides a "Kids are cool" statement.

I think that the more common strain is an attitude towards women of control and making them second-class citizens, and I think that stems from the time period in which most religions arose-- during extremely mysogynistic and patriarchal times. I think that the control over reproduction is, in general, a side-effect of the treatment of women. But again, this isn't true for all religions, mostly just the highly socially conservative ones.

31 gwangung  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:14:27pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

Abortion for Savita lawful, says legal expert
It would have been legal under Irish law for the hospital to abort.
Exactly what happened isn't known yet there are even accusations of racism.
The Savita Halappanavar tragedy: Dial down the outrage, please!
I'm a big fan of liberal abortion laws but there might be more to this story. I'll wait for the investigations.

A woman died for no reason that I can see.

WHY THE HELL SHOULDN'T WE BE OUTRAGED????

32 calochortus  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:15:15pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

Abortion for Savita lawful, says legal expert
It would have been legal under Irish law for the hospital to abort.
Exactly what happened isn't known yet there are even accusations of racism.
The Savita Halappanavar tragedy: Dial down the outrage, please!
I'm a big fan of liberal abortion laws but there might be more to this story. I'll wait for the investigations.

Of course there could be more, but the religious attitudes and the laws they created were used to deny this woman an abortion that would probably have saved her life. That is an outrage.

33 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:15:36pm

re: #30 Obdicut

The phrase "pretty common strain in all religions" is incoherent. It's a common strain in religion, but control over the family level is in no way reserved for religion. Eugenics programs were popular in Europe for quite a long time-- Sweden closing theirs down only in the '70s. Sterilization of Roma women still occurs in Eastern Europe. And obviously, China's "One child per family" doctrine was a gigantic assertion of control over the family.

In addition, there are plenty of major religions that don't really have much to say about a maximum reproductive throughput, besides a "Kids are cool" statement.

I think that the more common strain is an attitude towards women of control and making them second-class citizens, and I think that stems from the time period in which most religions arose-- during extremely mysogynistic and patriarchal times. I think that the control over reproduction is, in general, a side-effect of the treatment of women. But again, this isn't true for all religions, mostly just the highly socially conservative ones.

Never said it was restricted to the church, either. That's two folks trying to put words in my mouth. The fact that secular organizations can assert similar levels of mind-bendigly awful control over human sexuality does not preclude an observation that most religions tend to have such a strain as well.

Neither does it imply I think all religious people have the same crazy control issues that their churches do.

If you're like me, you simply see most religions as fundamentally secular institutions with a vested interest in asserting the greatest deal of power and control over their "citizens" as possible. It doesn't make them fundamentally worse people or anything. It's just a useful way to help explain why there's such crazy seemingly hypocritical logic around the abortion issue.

34 A Mom Anon  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:16:27pm

re: #31 gwangung

Thank you. And this IS what today's Republicans think is just fine and dandy. The child matters until it's born, and I guess the mother is not at all important in this equation. You know, maybe a religion shouldn't be making hospital policy, ever.

35 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:16:42pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

Abortion for Savita lawful, says legal expert
It would have been legal under Irish law for the hospital to abort.
Exactly what happened isn't known yet there are even accusations of racism.
The Savita Halappanavar tragedy: Dial down the outrage, please!
I'm a big fan of liberal abortion laws but there might be more to this story. I'll wait for the investigations.

The Irish government really sucks at investigating or doing anything relating to abortion. They are supposed to have produced legislation to clarify the issue already and they haven't. They were supposed to in 2010. Is there any reason you place particular faith in the Irish government to investigate this issue?

36 William Barnett-Lewis  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:16:51pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

Please wait! The MBF hasn't arrived yet!

37 dragonath  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:17:24pm

re: #23 Jaerik

Yeah, but re: #16 Jolo5309

Hitchens is always proved more and more correct:

religion poisons everything

Eh, Obama is by all accounts religious, but he isn't a dick about it. Lots of Obama campaign supporters I came across were religious too.

Never underestimate humanity's capacity for superdickery. See: Rand, Ayn.

38 Destro  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:18:24pm

Link to BBC video report @ [Link: littlegreenfootballs.com...]

39 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:18:56pm

re: #13 wrenchwench

My sister had an ectopic pregnancy removed at a Catholic hospital. No hesitation, from what I heard.

I can't help but wonder if the fact that Savita Halappanavar wasn't Irish and didn't look Irish had an impact on her treatment.

Abortion's legal in Ireland in cases where the mother's life is endangered, which would be the case with an ectopic, and with this as well. What happened here probably wasn't legal, and I assume they will get their asses handed to them, but it clearly came out of either a religious preference of the supervising physicians, or a misunderstanding of what was permitted--possibly encouraged by someone.

And I do wonder if race played a role in the whole thing.

A shanda.

40 RadicalModerate  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:20:47pm

re: #37 dragonath

Yeah, but re: #16 Jolo5309

Eh, Obama is by all accounts religious,

Tell that to the religious conservatives who are in control of the Republican Party. I don't think there has been a single day in the past year where they weren't claiming the exact opposite of this.

41 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:21:30pm

re: #37 dragonath

Yeah, but re: #16 Jolo5309

Eh, Obama is by all accounts religious, but he isn't a dick about it. Lots of Obama campaign supporters I came across were religious too.

Never underestimate humanity's capacity for superdickery. See: Rand, Ayn.

Of course most of Obama's supporters are religious, less than 20% of the US is non theist, so I don't see your point.

My point is that if the Roman Catholic Church had a little less power in Ireland this woman would not have died in such a horrific manner.

42 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:22:19pm

re: #33 Jaerik

Never said it was restricted to the church, either. That's two folks trying to put words in my mouth.

No, it's that you expressed yourself badly.

The fact that secular organizations can assert similar levels of mind-bendigly awful control over human sexuality does not preclude an observation that most religions tend to have such a strain as well.

Do you understand my point that religions originated in more archaic times? I mean, it's very easy to find religions that don't have such a strain, right, so it's not a feature of religion itself, right?

If you're like me, you simply see most religions as fundamentally secular institutions with a vested interest in asserting the greatest deal of power and control over their "citizens" as possible.

I'm not like you, then.

It doesn't make them fundamentally worse people or anything. It's just a useful way to help explain why there's such crazy seemingly hypocritical logic around the abortion issue.

Are you just uninterested in the whole 'restriction of women's rights' thing I was saying? Most of the 'control ' exerted by religions over sexuality is over women, not men. In addition, there are a lot of other aspects you tend to find in religions that prohibit abortion which regulate women to second-class status. Isn't that connection relevant?

43 calochortus  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:22:50pm

re: #16 Jolo5309

Hitchens is always proved more and more correct:

religion poisons everything

I don't know that it poisons everything. The problem is that it can take your personal opinion or gut feeling and turn it into the will of the creator of the universe. A little self doubt is often a good thing. Religion can erase that.

44 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:23:26pm

re: #39 SanFranciscoZionist

Abortion's legal in Ireland in cases where the mother's life is endangered, which would be the case with an ectopic, and with this as well. What happened here probably wasn't legal, and I assume they will get their asses handed to them, but it clearly came out of either a religious preference of the supervising physicians, or a misunderstanding of what was permitted--possibly encouraged by someone.

And I do wonder if race played a role in the whole thing.

A shanda.

If the Republican Party manages to push through their heartbeat bills, the US will be to the right of Ireland - more conservative than a hard core Catholic country.

45 Patricia Kayden  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:31:32pm

re: #3 OhNoZombies!

Same thing nearly happened to my mother-in-law at a local Catholic hospital.
Apparently, they were willing to let a mother with two living children die for the sake of a fetus that had no chance to live at all.

You know, because of family values and the sanctity of life.
Whatever.

Exactly. How can you be "pro-life" and let a woman die for a fetus? These people are inhumane.

46 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:32:43pm

re: #42 Obdicut

No, it's that you expressed yourself badly.

Do you understand my point that religions originated in more archaic times? I mean, it's very easy to find religions that don't have such a strain, right, so it's not a feature of religion itself, right?

I'm not like you, then.

Are you just uninterested in the whole 'restriction of women's rights' thing I was saying? Most of the 'control ' exerted by religions over sexuality is over women, not men. In addition, there are a lot of other aspects you tend to find in religions that prohibit abortion which regulate women to second-class status. Isn't that connection relevant?

No, I'm agreeing with it. =) Restriction of women's rights IS the entire issue.

My observation was that WHY is restricting women's rights so prevalent? Yes, it's because most of these religions originated in ancient times. But per your own point, even relatively more modern, secular instances of such awfulness (i.e. Nazi eugenics) tend to rely on controlling female sexuality.

To me, that's the kind of pattern that's a head-scratcher. Why would both an ancient religious institution, and a modern secular one, both independently come to the same method of barbaric control? Why do religions across the globe that never communicated to one another all have rules and laws about sex as core tenants? Why not common rules about not wearing red on Thursdays? That seems awfully coincidental, wouldn't you agree?

My theory is simply that if you want to assert the greatest deal of control over a populace, sex and reproduction is a really great way to do it. It's a biological imperative, meaning it's essentially a guaranteed eventuality, meaning by putting arbitrary rules around it, you get a great leverage point to assert additional control over people's lives and families in a way that touches quite literally everyone on the planet. Female reproduction in particular is a tempting target because it meshes with most historical discrimination, but it could logically be either.

I'm not saying that religious folks are sexual control freaks. (Although as we've seen care of Charles, there's certainly some, like our friend here!) Nor am I saying we would all be somehow better if religion were to go away. I'm not a naive, militant atheist who likes to throw around statements like "religion poisons everything." Hitchens was right about a lot of things, but he was such a dick, it cancelled a lot of it out in my mind.

Rather, I don't see religions as anything special -- if you don't believe in a divine backing to them, their behavior around social control and the tools they use to do it suddenly don't seem all that different from the secular eugenics wackos.

That was the observation I was trying to make, and positing that it's really the only way to "make sense" of many hyper-conservative religions' internal consistency and hypocrisy issues around abortion, procreation, sex, sin, etc.

47 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:35:28pm

re: #46 Jaerik

No, I'm agreeing with it. =) Restriction of women's rights iS the entire issue.

Then don't put it in general terms about controlling sexuality. It's almost entirely about controlling women's sexuality.

My observation was that WHY is restricting women's rights so prevalent? Yes, it's because most of these religious originated in ancient times. But per your own point, even relatively more modern, secular instances of such awfulness (i.e. Nazi eugenics) tend to rely on controlling female sexuality.

No, that's not true. Eugenics is not about controlling female sexuality, it's about sterilizing 'unfit' people of either gender and preventing their reproduction as a group.

Why would both an ancient religious institution, and a modern secular one, both independently come to the same method of barbaric control?

They didn't. Eugenics focuses on sterilization of both genders, or 'forcing' the marriage of two people.

So the rest of your argument doesn't really follow, because your premise is flawed.

48 dragonath  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:36:49pm

re: #41 Jolo5309

Of course most of Obama's supporters are religious, less than 20% of the US is non theist, so I don't see your point.

My point is that if the Roman Catholic Church had a little less power in Ireland this woman would not have died in such a horrific manner.

That's a far cry from religion poisons everything.

Anyway, a lot of the weirdness goes in Ireland back to Eamon de Valera, a guy who managed to insert a lot of weird religious stuff into the constitution.

He's also known for offering condolences to the Germans after goddamn Hitler died.

49 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:38:21pm

re: #21 calochortus

Many people do leave one denomination for another, though. Catholics appear to be around the 9% mark. I'm surprised it isn't higher.

Most Catholics have a stronger relationship to the faith and the community than to the hierarchy.

50 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:39:25pm

re: #23 Jaerik

Hate to sound like a snarky atheist, but shaming and control of base desires (primarily sex) to create an arbitrary need for redemption at the personal level, extending it to government policy to assert control at the social, family, and political power level, and a desire for maximum reproductive throughput (with only half-ass regard for quality of life after birth) is a pretty common strain in all religions.

No, not really.

51 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:40:03pm

re: #25 wrenchwench

The little, tiny, non-viable heartbeat counted for more than the strong heartbeat of the immigrant dentist who came to Ireland because she heard it's a good place to have a baby. They didn't tell her it's a dangerous place to be a pregnant woman.

Thing is, mostly it is not. Ireland's got a great OB/GYN rep. Very low mortality rates. Which her husband cited as one reason for them being there.

52 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:40:36pm

I fully expect the government of Ireland to treat this as a one-off, to say that the doctors should have treated her because her life was in danger, and continue to ignore the fundamental problem of the uncertainty of their abortion policies.

It was only recently that the threat of suicide was allowed as a reason for abortion, but especially in a Catholic country that carries a huge burden with it as well, and the threat has to be found credible-- again, in murky circumstances. A doctor could refuse to perform an abortion and say that he didn't feel the suicide threat was credible-- and most suicide threats aren't, in the end.

Hopefully the government won't be able to sidle away from this as they have done so often in the past. If they're going to have a highly restrictive policy, that is their sovereign right but it should be clear and explicable.

53 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:40:54pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

Abortion for Savita lawful, says legal expert
It would have been legal under Irish law for the hospital to abort.
Exactly what happened isn't known yet there are even accusations of racism.
The Savita Halappanavar tragedy: Dial down the outrage, please!
I'm a big fan of liberal abortion laws but there might be more to this story. I'll wait for the investigations.

Yes, it would have been lawful, but it was not done. So I'm not planning to dial down the outrage any time soon.

54 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:41:49pm

re: #40 RadicalModerate

Tell that to the religious conservatives who are in control of the Republican Party. I don't think there has been a single day in the past year where they weren't claiming the exact opposite of this.

They don't get to decide for him.

55 A Mom Anon  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:43:13pm

re: #28 Killgore Trout

And now, I have a pain behind my eye. Don't MBF this Killgore. Just. Don't.

56 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:46:39pm

re: #47 Obdicut

Then don't put it in general terms about controlling sexuality. It's almost entirely about controlling women's sexuality.

No, that's not true. Eugenics is not about controlling female sexuality, it's about sterilizing 'unfit' people of either gender and preventing their reproduction as a group.

They didn't. Eugenics focuses on sterilization of both genders, or 'forcing' the marriage of two people.

So the rest of your argument doesn't really follow, because your premise is flawed.

The eugenics experiments in Germany quite specifically controlled women's reproductive rights. It forced married women to reproduce with SS officers who were not their husbands. It forced abortions and outlawed others in the case of rape, etc. Women with undesirable genetics were forcibly sterilized. In this case it was a cult of the secular government (and please don't think I'm drawing a moral equivalent until these modern GOP nutjobs start arguing for sterilizing people) but the basis of control is the same.

Look at just about any "cult" whether based on a major religion (Branch Dividians, the beard-shaving Amish group, Jonestown), or even not (Heaven's Gate, those crazier "yoga" groups), and you see that control of sex and reproduction is a near inevitability as part of the consolidation of power over their follower's lives. It's just too damn tempting. It's too universal, too important for continuation of the meme, and too easy.

I argue that's the real basis for this stuff. The control of women in particular simply follows because it's the easier route in terms of historical, cultural, and physical circumstances. But there's nothing in the logic that would preclude a society or religion, in other circumstances, from following the same path but choosing to make male sexuality the object of persecution instead.

Dunno. I'm clearly failing to express myself clearly. =( Apologies... I'll just stop.

57 SanFranciscoZionist  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:47:38pm

re: #48 dragonath

That's a far cry from religion poisons everything.

Anyway, a lot of the weirdness goes in Ireland back to Eamon de Valera, a guy who managed to insert a lot of weird religious stuff into the constitution.

He's also known for offering condolences to the Germans after goddamn Hitler died.

Bloody Dev. My father had notes at one point for an alternate history novel where Michael Collins lived, wrested control from him, and took Ireland into the war.

58 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:50:00pm

re: #56 Jaerik

The eugenics experiments in Germany quite specifically controlled women's reproductive rights.

It also sterilized men. Sorry, dude. Eugenics uses control of female sexuality in order to attain it's goals. The purpose of abortion laws and other laws affecting female sexuality stemming from socially conservative religion is control of female sexuality. In one case, it is a means, in the other, it is the ends.

And yeah, of course in any strong hierarchy the hierarchy takes advantage of that and women start getting controlled by those in charge. That's not actually relevant to what I'm saying.

But there's nothing in the logic that would preclude a society or religion, in other circumstances, from following the same path but choosing to make male sexuality the object of persecution instead.

Weirdly, I restrict myself to the actual physical world when talking about things.

59 EPR-radar  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:52:34pm

re: #26 RadicalModerate

First the good news: Irish women who had this procedure performed on them without knowledge or consent are starting to see legal relief.
Woman awarded €450k over symphysiotomy

And something that needs to be said - For anyone who claims that all of this is ancient history within Ireland, you might want to read this report. As recently as 2010, Ireland's Minister of Health flatly refused to inquire into its hospitals performing this barbaric procedure.

[Link: www.irishtimes.com...]

A few more salient points:

Apparently, this 19th century procedure was revived in the mid-20th century (contrary to prevailing medical norms in Ireland at that time) by senior doctors at 1-2 Irish hospitals as a "preferable" alternative to C-section. Informed consent by the patients was often not obtained.

The apparent reason for this preference is that women may need to be sterilized after having multiple C-sections, while breaking the pelvis does not have this drawback. Women need not be continent or able to walk properly in order to "fulfill their purpose".

Heartbreaking and despicable. Words fail.

60 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:53:15pm

re: #48 dragonath

That's a far cry from religion poisons everything.

Anyway, a lot of the weirdness goes in Ireland back to Eamon de Valera, a guy who managed to insert a lot of weird religious stuff into the constitution.

He's also known for offering condolences to the Germans after goddamn Hitler died.

Not really, religion poisoned that country to allow that woman to die, religion poisoned that country to allow priests to use small children as fucktoys for years and it still has apologetics.

Anything religion touches, it poisons.

61 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:54:59pm

re: #58 Obdicut

It also sterilized men. Sorry, dude. Eugenics uses control of female sexuality in order to attain it's goals. The purpose of abortion laws and other laws affecting female sexuality stemming from socially conservative religion is control of female sexuality. In one case, it is a means, in the other, it is the ends.

Fair enough. I guess what I'm trying to say is... do you really think it just ends with "controlling female sexuality?" That's it? Like, everyone got together and decided that was the "ends" they were going for? That seems rather arbitrary, no?

My argument as that controlling female sexuality is part of a greater pattern of trying to assert control and influence on society, and that it's a pattern that seems to quite suspiciously end up in just about any authoritarian group, from new-age yoga cults to fundamentalist Amish.

Weirdly, I restrict myself to the actual physical world when talking about things.

I'll restrict myself to talking about the strict political subject at hand in the future, then. Waxing philosophical just seems to risk offending people.

62 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:56:35pm

re: #60 Jolo5309

But that's just demonstrably untrue. Listen, I'm a hardcore atheist. I don't even think the idea of god has any coherence to it. But there are tons and tons of religious people and things religion has 'touched' which aren't poisoned. Religion is just another piece of culture. It tends to be an archaic carrier of cultural mores, but it has at times been an agent of progressive change, too.

Why isn't it enough to condemn excesses of religion: why is it necessary to paint all religion as inherently corruptive?

63 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:57:58pm

re: #61 Jaerik

Fair enough. I guess what I'm trying to say is... do you really think it just ends with "controlling female sexuality?" That's it? Like, everyone got together and decided that was the "ends" they were going for? That seems rather arbitrary, no?

No, I obviously don't think everyone got together and decided anything. I don't think you think I think that, either, so why'd you ask?

My argument as that controlling female sexuality is part of a greater pattern of trying to assert control and influence on society, and that it's a pattern that seems to quite suspiciously end up in just about any authoritarian group, from new-age yoga cults to fundamentalist Amish.

Yeah, and I don't agree. I don't think that the the pattern is trying to assert 'control and influence on society', since society itself is a system of control and influence. So I'm not really sure what you even mean at this point.

64 A Mom Anon  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 1:59:33pm

How about just valuing women and our lives? Would that really be freaking ok with people? I need to bow out of this discussion now before the ban hammer gets dropped on me. Sigh. BBL.

65 dragonath  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:03:18pm

re: #60 Jolo5309

You could literally say the same thing about politicians- which really, is what a lot of religious organizion boils down to.

By your own reckoning, religious people make up a majority of the US electorate - but hey, they're all "poisoned". That rhetoric is a sure way to embolden the real assholes out there.

66 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:03:55pm

re: #62 Obdicut

But that's just demonstrably untrue. Listen, I'm a hardcore atheist. I don't even think the idea of god has any coherence to it. But there are tons and tons of religious people and things religion has 'touched' which aren't poisoned. Religion is just another piece of culture. It tends to be an archaic carrier of cultural mores, but it has at times been an agent of progressive change, too.

Why isn't it enough to condemn excesses of religion: why is it necessary to paint all religion as inherently corruptive?

But I'm not! I'm painting humans as fundamentally corrupt in their desire to assert control over each other. And I'm saying that when you take away the divine mumbo-jumbo around it, religions are just another human institution that's subject to the same human flaws and patterns of power abuse as the rest of us.

And that a common pattern in institutionalized human power structures throughout history has been control of sexuality -- particularly women's sexuality -- because it's such a convenient point of universal leverage.

I quite specifically tried to clarify that I am not of the "religion poisons everything" brand of atheism. I'm the "human power poisons everything and religion is just another construction of human power" camp.

And then attempting to argue why, with these inherently conflicting but suspicious consistent directives that come from it, you can end up in a seemingly incomprehensible situation where any organization (in this case the Catholic church, but insert terrible group of your choice) would be willing to let a mother die to save a fetus that could never have survived.

67 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:05:03pm

re: #62 Obdicut

But that's just demonstrably untrue. Listen, I'm a hardcore atheist. I don't even think the idea of god has any coherence to it. But there are tons and tons of religious people and things religion has 'touched' which aren't poisoned. Religion is just another piece of culture. It tends to be an archaic carrier of cultural mores, but it has at times been an agent of progressive change, too.

Why isn't it enough to condemn excesses of religion: why is it necessary to paint all religion as inherently corruptive?

Religious is corruptive, because of it's authoritarian background, people are willing to accept it's failings because of their spiritual leader tells them so. This allows religions to claim moral authority, when they have none.

68 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:06:51pm

re: #65 dragonath

You could literally say the same thing about politicians- which really, is what a lot of religious organizion boils down to.

By your own reckoning, religious people make up a majority of the US electorate - but hey, they're all "poisoned". That rhetoric is a sure way to embolden the real assholes out there.

Hey, 49% of them voted for Romney, many because of religious reasons. tell me they are not poisoned.

The big difference between a politician and a religious leader is that the politician has to (vaguely) follow the will of the people, the religious leader follows the will of their god.

69 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:10:43pm

re: #66 Jaerik

And that a common pattern in institutionalized human power structures throughout history has been control of sexuality -- particularly women's sexuality -- because it's such a convenient point of universal leverage.

This is what I disagree with. I don't buy into the whole control of society through controlling sexuality thing. I don't even understand how it's supposed to work. The control of sexuality in society tends to be "Women, don't be sluts. Mostly, just don't fuck anyone who can't lay a direct legal claim to you. Men, fuck who you like, but if it's a woman who belongs to an important guy you'll probably get the shit kicked out of you." How does that provide a lever of any sort?

70 EPR-radar  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:10:50pm

re: #67 Jolo5309

Religious is corruptive, because of it's authoritarian background, people are willing to accept it's failings because of their spiritual leader tells them so. This allows religions to claim moral authority, when they have none.

Religion covers lots of ground. As far as I know, the UUs and Quakers aren't especially authoritarian, and tend not to be sheeple following a prophet.

What you say is true of many, but not all, religious denominations, and it is not helpful to smear all with the sins of some.

71 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:11:19pm

re: #67 Jolo5309

Religious is corruptive, because of it's authoritarian background, people are willing to accept it's failings because of their spiritual leader tells them so. This allows religions to claim moral authority, when they have none.

Not all religions are authoritarian; many of them are anti-authoritarian.

72 Charles Johnson  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:14:23pm

By the way, open racism, including the N word, is now returning to the comments section at Breitbart.com, after a period in which they seemed to be trying to delete the worst ones.

See: Former GOP Chair Michael Steele Hints He Voted for Obama.

MYAVAST1

So he voted like all n1ggers did. What a shock.

2 Likes

73 Lidane  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:15:08pm

re: #69 Obdicut

This is what I disagree with. I don't buy into the whole control of society through controlling sexuality thing. I don't even understand how it's supposed to work. The control of sexuality in society tends to be "Women, don't be sluts. Mostly, just don't fuck anyone who can't lay a direct legal claim to you. Men, fuck who you like, but if it's a woman who belongs to an important guy you'll probably get the shit kicked out of you." How does that provide a lever of any sort?

You're forgetting the part where women were nothing but chattel for centuries, with their worth being entirely defined by their virginity on marriage and their ability to produce babies. Women had no autonomy or agency of their own.

Controlling sexuality has always centered on controlling women. Men can do what they want, but if a woman tries that, she's a whore who has destroyed her usefulness. Or something.

74 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:15:57pm

re: #71 Obdicut

Not all religions are authoritarian; many of them are anti-authoritarian.

Which religions are anti-authoritarian?

75 OhNoZombies!  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:16:41pm

Seems to me, that if I were a leader in a patriarchal religion, and one of the fundamental ideas is that men were created in god the creator's image, and I realized that it's women who bear the weight of perpetuating the species, I would feel that this undermines my authority. It appears that women are creators in their own right.

The best way to remedy that, is to belittle those sinful, apple-eating womerns, and try to take possession of the power of reproduction.

76 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:18:35pm

re: #73 Lidane

You're forgetting the part where women were nothing but chattel for centuries, with their worth being entirely defined by their virginity on marriage and their ability to produce babies. Women had no autonomy or agency of their own.

Controlling sexuality has always centered on controlling women. Men can do what they want, but if a woman tries that, she's a whore who has destroyed her usefulness. Or something.

I'm not forgetting that. That was my point. I'm saying it's not a lever to control men, who were the ones in control of society most of the time. It's one of the effects of a male-dominated, pre-enlightenment society, to control women's sexuality.

77 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:21:20pm

re: #74 Jolo5309

Which religions are anti-authoritarian?

The Society of Friends, Unitarians, many forms of Buddhists, just to name ones off the top of my head.

78 EPR-radar  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:22:47pm

re: #69 Obdicut

This is what I disagree with. I don't buy into the whole control of society through controlling sexuality thing. I don't even understand how it's supposed to work. The control of sexuality in society tends to be "Women, don't be sluts. Mostly, just don't fuck anyone who can't lay a direct legal claim to you. Men, fuck who you like, but if it's a woman who belongs to an important guy you'll probably get the shit kicked out of you." How does that provide a lever of any sort?

In my opinion, controlling society via controlling sexuality is a reasonable model in some cases. Traditional patriarchy may be a good example. Men are encouraged to screw any available woman or child (consent irrelevant, availability determined by whether or not another man owns the woman or child). Women are binned into three categories: virgins, goodwives, and whores. Sufficiently radical departures from this pattern are harshly punished (e.g., honor killings etc.). Authoritarian structures are set up to regulate the system (e.g., church control of marriage and divorce, church preaching that reinforces the system, etc.). These authoritarian structures can use their influence over sexuality to reinforce their influence on society as a whole.

More modern societies don't give such clear examples.

79 dragonath  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:23:12pm

re: #68 Jolo5309

So, 51% didn't. This is compartmentalizing logic compounded with your own personal biases. So if you're religious and listen to Rush then you're poisoned.

But, I'm sure Rush would like to think he is a God.

80 Lidane  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:23:48pm

re: #75 OhNoZombies!

Seems to me, that if I were a leader in a patriarchal religion, and one of the fundamental ideas is that men were created in god the creator's image, and I realized that it's women who bear the weight of perpetuating the species, I would feel that this undermines my authority. It appears that women are creators in their own right.

The best way to remedy that, is to belittle those sinful, apple-eating womerns, and try to take possession of the power of reproduction.

Not only that, but blame women for the downfall of the species and build a whole doctrine around it.

81 wrenchwench  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:24:39pm

re: #72 Charles Johnson

By the way, open racism, including the N word, is now returning to the comments section at Breitbart.com, after a period in which they seemed to be trying to delete the worst ones.

See: Former GOP Chair Michael Steele Hints He Voted for Obama.

Post-election butthurt-intensification justification at work.

82 Jaerik  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:24:40pm

re: #69 Obdicut

This is what I disagree with. I don't buy into the whole control of society through controlling sexuality thing.

Got it. I understand now. Yeah, that's a point where we disagree.

To me, it's just too suspicious that control of sexuality (on some level, from "please don't because God will be sad" to "here, wear this bag over your head or face execution") is so universal across human power structures throughout time. And so I'm driven to try and explain it through generalization.

Back to my original (poorly phrased) point, I struggle to recall any major religion (again, nothing about religion itself, just religion as another kind of human power structure) that doesn't contain some kind of directive or prohibition regarding sex and procreation. That seems vanishingly unlikely in isolation unless there was some consistent reason for it.

In the Catholic church's case (on topic for this article), they seem to have ended up in an argument that on its surface seems logically absurd -- letting a mother of two die to save a fetus who was doomed anyway -- but that can be fairly easily explained once you track their conflicting directives around controlling female sexuality while still encouraging unbounded procreation.

My point is that this is a much more generalized problem throughout history than one religion or one country or one culture. It seems to be a very core human problem.

83 EPR-radar  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:26:59pm

re: #80 Lidane

Not only that, but blame women for the downfall of the species and build a whole doctrine around it.

This may be folk sociology, but as I understand it, there was a major change in ancient religious traditions from earth mother/fertility cults to sky father cults. Wouldn't surprise me if this got embedded in the bible as Eve and the serpent.

84 OhNoZombies!  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:42:09pm

re: #83 EPR-radar

This may be folk sociology, but as I understand it, there was a major change in ancient religious traditions from earth mother/fertility cults to sky father cults. Wouldn't surprise me if this got embedded in the bible as Eve and the serpent.

It's my understanding, that the serpent symbol in many cultures is very prevalent. It represents the knowledge of earthly things, because the snake spends its life with its belly (ear) to the ground.

It is also a phallic symbol, which coincides with earthly knowledge, and procreation.

If women were held in high esteem in a pagan religion, and I was trying to establish my dogma as truth, a woman would be viewed as a dangerous thing.

Maybe even a witch.

85 Obdicut  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:44:32pm

re: #82 Jaerik

My point is that this is a much more generalized problem throughout history than one religion or one country or one culture. It seems to be a very core human problem.

What is a more generalized problem? Abortion? Because anti-abortionism is kind of a new phenomenon, and it's related to increased female sexual freedom.

Back to my original (poorly phrased) point, I struggle to recall any major religion (again, nothing about religion itself, just religion as another kind of human power structure) that doesn't contain some kind of directive or prohibition regarding sex and procreation. That seems vanishingly unlikely in isolation unless there was some consistent reason for it.

And the consistent reason is that it's a way to control female sexuality. Not to control society. Societal control is used to control female sexuality. You seem to be arguing control of sexuality is used to control society.

86 CarleeCork  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:49:18pm

re: #64 A Mom Anon

How about just valuing women and our lives? Would that really be freaking ok with people? I need to bow out of this discussion now before the ban hammer gets dropped on me. Sigh. BBL.

I'm with you, black men were given the right to vote before women. We must be less than 3/5ths of white men?

87 CarleeCork  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 2:51:26pm

re: #80 Lidane

Not only that, but blame women for the downfall of the species and build a whole doctrine around it.

I'd give you 100 up dings if I could.

88 Nemesis6  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 8:11:23pm

People like to ask what harm religion really does in the largely secular Europe. This is the answer.

89 Eclectic Infidel  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 8:42:12pm

The RCC a force for good in the world? NO!

90 Jolo5309  Fri, Nov 16, 2012 10:07:44pm

re: #79 dragonath

So, 51% didn't. This is compartmentalizing logic compounded with your own personal biases. So if you're religious and listen to Rush then you're poisoned.

But, I'm sure Rush would like to think he is a God.

Not really, how many posters here are still Roman catholics after years of their priests raping children? How many here are after that religion has continually claimed moral authority after making the argument that they are correct? The continual excuses that the religious make when it comes to their religion is appalling.

91 JRCMYP  Sat, Nov 17, 2012 4:09:54pm

In some states I'd say we are already there.


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