This is the real meaning of a ‘pro-life’ stance


by Unity    
9:30 am - November 16th 2012

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If you download this Powerpoint presentation, which was produced by Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship in conjunction with what was then (2007) the ‘Alive and Kicking’ anti-abortion campaign, you find a slide – number 47 – with the following title:

What about abortion to save the life of the mother?

The second of the three bullet points on that slide reads as follows:

there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of the mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child’. (Irish obstetricians, 1992)

Is that right???

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.

Needless to say, one wonders now whether ‘Irish obstetricians’ – and Dr Peter Saunders, of course – would care to revise their opinion?

Somehow, I doubt that they will – the anti-abortion lobby will inevitably concoct some sort of bullshit excuse to try and conceal the despicable truth in this case, that woman a died unnecessarily and in agony because Irish Catholic doctors refused to perform a termination that could have helped to save her life.

And these people have the nerve to call themselves ‘Pro-Life’.

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'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Reader comments


Vaginas and wombs are all male conservatives require from woman. Oh and a very small education that allows them to know how to cook.

The Taliban, and the Christian Taliban. Poles apart, and yet exactly the same.

”… because Irish Catholic doctors refused to perform a termination that could have helped to save her life.”

And if this had happened in Northern Ireland you would have said what? Christian doctors? How do you know if they were Catholics or Christians even?

There’s something wrong with the way some people are coming at this IMO. That’s three posts in a row on LC which have tried to spin it. The Republic isn’t England. It’s a different country and they have their own laws. If all we can do in Britain is make these snide comments, perhaps we should just stay out of it. I’m sure they don’t appreciate our patronising concern.

Needless to say, one wonders now whether ‘Irish obstetricians’ – and Dr Peter Saunders, of course – would care to revise their opinion?

The Dublin Declaration is a semantic exercise in dancing on the head of a pin. As can be seen by the second bullet point:

“We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.”

So, in the current tragic case, just terminating the baby wouldn’t have saved the life of the mother – there would have needed to be a series of medical interventions to save her life, and as a tragic side effect, the baby would have died.

That is, incidentally, orthodox Catholic doctrine on abortion. It’s never allowed, but sometimes the death of an unborn child is a tragic adjunct to life-saving treatment of the mother.

That may seem medieval and barbaric, but conceptually it’s not all that different to the modus operandi of end-of-life care in the UK – you can’t end someone’s life, even if they’re in terrible pain and incurable. But you can treat their symptoms, even if a side-effect of treatment is the death of the patient.

They call themselves pro-life because they happen to argue for a different life than the one you argue for – a minority that doesn’t get much say.

Why do you try and boil this down to something obvious and easy, when it’s not? It’s choosing between one life and another – why do we value one above the other? Why do you take one obviously black and white picture when it’s far from that? In what way is that helping in this debate?

5. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

1) The Catholicism is directly relevant because the woman was allegedly told “this is a Catholic country”, although admittedly that’s unproven and more context would be helpful.

2) Human suffering and unnecessary deaths matter even in the faraway place known as Ireland. Strange but true.

6. the a&e charge nurse

[2] ‘The Republic isn’t England’ – indeed, one of the reasons so many irish women come here to receive more compassionate medical treatment.

“Already grieving from the knowledge that her baby would be born dead, Arlette Lyons, a 34-year-old sales representative from Dublin and her husband were stunned to find they would have to take a plane to England to end her pregnancy”.

“Ruth Bowie, a 34-year-old paediatric nurse living in Dublin, got pregnant in 2009 shortly after she married. Her 12-week scan detected that a large portion of the baby’s skull and brain was missing and that it would ultimately not survive. Thirteen weeks into her pregnancy Ruth and her husband flew to Birmingham for the termination”.

“Amanda Mellet, 36 and originally from Michigan, learned 11 weeks into her pregnancy that there was something profoundly wrong with her baby’s heart. On her husband’s birthday the couple were told by the hospital there wasn’t even any point in seeing a heart specialist about defects in the baby girl’s heart given that if Amanda had gone full term the child would die. They travelled to England for a termination”.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/06/irish-pain-abortion-law-case-studies?intcmp=239

Since you keep insisting we mustn’t make judgements about the ROI internal affairs do you extend this to refusing irish women abortion services when they come to the UK?

@James Reade – given that everyone has to go through the stage of being ‘the unborn’ how, exactly, is it intellectually honest to try and portray the unborn as a neglected minority?

8. the a&e charge nurse

[3] ‘The Dublin Declaration is a semantic exercise in dancing on the head of a pin’ – ‘semantics’ – wrong, the DD is part of a wider culture of intimidating front line grunts who might feel ill at ease allowing religious dogma to trump rational medical decision making.

Why won’t the irish tell us how many abortions they perform, eh?

Oh look, a Petri dish fetishist at 4

These people worship the petri dish, but hate the born baby.

Petri dish fetishists see woman as nothing more than a shpping vehicle to deliver cargo. If the ship is going to sink, the cargo must be saved and the ship can drown. Horrible people.

I see another one of these pieces of shit, a Republican in the US who is anti abortion, and campaigned as pro live, has been revealed in court as a fraud. He asked his girlfriend who he was having an affair with to get an abortion. Nice. And of course the usual hypocrisy. “Abortion for me, but not for thee.”

@6. What I’m saying is that Irish people are quite able to set their own laws. If they want to have a really rubbish law on abortion that’s their business. We here are spinning it because we don’t approve of the way they run their country in Ireland.
I would prefer it if they allowed abortion in Ireland.
Being a man and not even living there, it hasn’t much to do with me, but in principle I’d support full rights to abortion on demand everywhere.
In Britain (not NI) it’s only allowed if two doctors agree it’s in the woman’s best interests not to go through with the pregnancy, and we don’t screen our doctors for their moral or religious beliefs I think.
So you could be unlucky to have a doctor who didn’t think your reasons for wanting one were good enough.

They are having this debate in Ireland right now. I caught some of it yesterday on the Pat Kenny show on RTE radio. Someone who hardly anyone in England will have ever even have heard of or understand how they talk through issues like this in Ireland.

Btw, I did a link to this Brendan O’Neill article yesterday. Did anyone look at it? I thought it raised some interesting points.

The post-Halappanavar playing of the victim card doesn’t only misrepresent Ireland as a Third World country or as a woman-hating theocracy – it also fundamentally transforms the idea and meaning of abortion rights. In elevating the patheticness of your average Irish woman, who is apparently one unwanted pregnancy away from dying a gruesome death like Halappanavar’s, pro-choice activists depict abortion as something women need to alleviate their vulnerabilities rather than something which will allow them to further realise their autonomy. That is, abortion comes to be treated purely as an emergency public health measure, one that can “save women’s lives”, rather than as a libertarian concern.

http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/11/15/the-pro-choice-lobbys-exploitation-of-the-savita-tragedy-could-backfire-badly/

wrong, the DD is part of a wider culture of intimidating front line grunts who might feel ill at ease allowing religious dogma to trump rational medical decision making.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive you know.

12. the a&e charge nurse

[10] the O’Neill article amounts to no more than a case of whataboutery.

The specifics of the case are that a young woman died from the complications of a miscarriage because doctors refused to perform an abortion – this refusal was in the context of several requests for termination and alleged remarks about ireland being a ‘catholic country’.

You seem reticent on ireland outsourcing it’s abortion problem?

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 10 damon

“Btw, I did a link to this Brendan O’Neill article yesterday. Did anyone look at it? I thought it raised some interesting points.”

Have you not noticed that there’s a general lack of interest in your links to thousand-word-long examples of concern trolling? Sticking up for the disenfranchised is “elevating their patheticness”? My, what a wonderful excuse for complacency!

And if this had happened in Northern Ireland you would have said what?

Nothing, because it couldn’t have happened in Northern Ireland, because the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929 applies in Northern Ireland and unequivocally allows abortion to save the mother from risk of death or serious harm.

The ambiguity over medically required abortions that exists in ROI law does not exist in NI law, despite the fact that NI law is extremely illiberal regarding abortion (indeed, O’Neill’s point, as far as he has one, is that the focus of the campaign over Mrs Halappanavar’s death will at best be to move ROI abortion law to the same status as NI abortion law, rather than liberalise it properly).

15. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

Oh, and false dichotomy as well. Banning abortion harms women’s autonomy, AND preventing it in life-threatening cases rather unsurprisingly takes away women’s lives.

And do note that this is the paragraph you apparently selected to encourage us to read this article…

One wonders what will happen to Damon’s argument should some Irish people wander into the thread arguing for a pro-abortion change in their law.

Does Nadine Dorries deduct the numbers of Irish woman having abortions in UK, and I suspect other nations from the total of UK abortions? Didn’t think so.

One wonders what will happen to Damon’s argument should some Irish people wander into the thread arguing for a pro-abortion change in their law.

Well, the obvious solution to this mess is for Ireland to reform its abortion laws. But it’s worth pointing out that in order to do so, there would need to be a referendum on a constitutional amendment. Although there’s strong polling for “abortion to save mother’s life”, I’m not sure that there would be for “abortion on demand”.

19. the a&e charge nurse

[18] ‘the obvious solution to this mess is for Ireland to reform its abortion laws’ – not least because they are more draconian than places like saudi arabia.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/abortion-laws–global-differences-8317069.html

One wonders what will happen to Damon’s argument should some Irish people wander into the thread arguing for a pro-abortion change in their law.

They are free to say what ever they want of course.
I’m pretty sure from what I understand of the way the law is in Ireland, that this shouldn’t have happened.
and if mistakes were made, a greater majority of people in the Republic would want to make sure it was unlikely to happen again.

That’s not got much to do with there being no provision for general abortion in the Republic. That’s a seperate issue,, and is up to people in that country to sort it out for themselves.

john b @14, fair enough, I didn’t actually know the difference. But you’d think that people in the UK would start there (in Northern Ireland) and not be pointing the finger at people in a different country altogether.

Chaise Guevara, compared to some of the shrill Irish catholic bashing that’s come from Britain on this, I thought B O’Neill had a couple of fair points.
At least will you admit that there has been such Irish bashing? It was in that Comment is Free article I linked to yesterday.

I am ashamed that Ireland’s medieval abortion law still stands

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/15/ireland-medieval-abortion-law-savita?intcmp=239

It’s not ”medieval” – it’s something else.
Culture I call it.

I also don’t agree with the death penalty in the USA, but it’s their culture to have it, so see it’s not really my place to get too involved with it.

It’s not clear whether the law is entirely to blame in this case or whether incompetence is the issue, as Irish law *does* allow for abortion when it is needed to save a mother’s life (just like UK law allows it the same reason after 24 weeks, ie once abortion would normally be illegal here).

It undoubtedly illustrates the need to clarify the law and make sure the medical profession is aware of it.

But the battle in Ireland is to ensure women have the right to make their own decisions about own bodies and fertility in all circumstances, not just when there is a threat to their life in carrying on with the pregnancy. This is a terrible case but it’s being used by people to try to make a point about abortion generally to which it is not relevant.

22. Chaise Guevara

@ 20 damon

“Chaise Guevara, compared to some of the shrill Irish catholic bashing that’s come from Britain on this, I thought B O’Neill had a couple of fair points.”

So why post a paragraph without any of them in?

“At least will you admit that there has been such Irish bashing?”

Haven’t seen any, but I’m sure if you dug deep enough you’d find some. Seen some Catholic bashing from the usual suspects. BTW, referring to Ireland’s law as “medieval” is not “Irish bashing”, it’s “Ireland criticising”, albeit rhetorically.

“I also don’t agree with the death penalty in the USA, but it’s their culture to have it, so see it’s not really my place to get too involved with it.”

Fine. Don’t get involved then. I just don’t see why you constantly gripe at everyone else that they should share your irrational faux-humility that’s quite blatantly a stalking horse for your contrarian instincts.

You’re acting holier-than-thou while trying to promote the idea of not helping those in need. Quite a feat, that.

Ha, Chaise. Yesterday I read loads of posts about ”the fecking bog Irish peasants”. Several on the Harry’s Place website for a start. What’s the deal here? Ireland doesn’t have abortion, but they are meant to have provision for medical cases to be sorted out without this happening. So something went wrong.

Am I wrong so far? The ”medieval” thing is something else. It’s about a country not allowing general abortion. The ”stupid Irish” (or enough of them it seems) have this idea that a fetus is like a little person, and they don’t like them being aborted and ”flushed down the toilet”.

I know, how backward.
But that’s what a lot of them are like. I’ve got cousins there like that … how embarrassing.

Three posts on this in two days on LC? Why’s that then? It was an accident .. or oversight/mistake or whatever.
Maybe brought about by people nervous about breaking the law. But still, as that B O’Neill article started:

The old saying “hard cases make bad law” should be heeded as much by progressive campaigners as by fusty lawmakers. Because it is equally true that tragic cases make bad reforms. The pro-choice activists currently holding up photos of Savita Halappanavar, while calling on the Irish authorities to legislate for some forms of abortion in order to “protect women’s lives”, could unwittingly help to give rise to an Irish abortion law that negates women’s autonomy rather than accentuating it.

As for why you think my comments are constant gripes ”at everyone else that they should share your irrational faux-humility that’s quite blatantly a stalking horse for your contrarian instincts” … what the heck does that mean? What is contrarian? One who goes against accepted wisdom? Of what?
On Harry’s Place I get deleted, moderated and called a ”Jew hater” because I criticise Israel a bit.
Is that what you mean by contrarian? Disagreeing with what is accepted opinion in any given place?
If it is, that kind of sucks in my opinion.

As it means there can be no meaningful dialogue, as you should just stick with those people most like yourself.

I just say, leave the Irish come up with their own solutions. If it’s not good enough, let them deal with it. They chose independence from the UK.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 23 damon

“Ha, Chaise. Yesterday I read loads of posts about ”the fecking bog Irish peasants”. Several on the Harry’s Place website for a start. What’s the deal here?”

Yep, that’s racist. But that doesn’t change anything about the issue itself, just identifies those commenters as nasty idiots.

“I know, how backward.
But that’s what a lot of them are like. I’ve got cousins there like that … how embarrassing.”

See, this is my issue with you when you act like this. You have a bad habit of playing the man, not the ball. That’s what behind comments like the above (and yes, I know it’s aimed at people criticising the Irish, not the Irish themselves), like your theme in this thread that we shouldn’t comment because we’re not Irish, and like your general habit of spamming that everyone who disagrees with you is “elitist” or whatever.

The annoying thing is that you’re perfectly capable of intelligently discussing an issue, and you have a very interesting perspective a lot of the time. Which makes it all the more irritating when you fill a thread with ad-hom garbage.

“Three posts on this in two days on LC? Why’s that then? It was an accident .. or oversight/mistake or whatever.”

IIRC, first reported the issue, second commented on it. This one’s a bit of a rant and I agree it’s not adding much. Title’s utterly dreadful, but we can all guess who’s responsible for that.

“But still, as that B O’Neill article started…”

Does he actually justify the claim in that quote (that the campaigners will create the opposite of what they want) or is it pure conjecture based on a lazy generalisation? Does he cost the issue?

“what the heck does that mean? What is contrarian? One who goes against accepted wisdom? Of what?”

No, of course not. A contrarian is someone who plays devil’s advocate just because they get a thrill from feeling like a maverick. Someone whose criteria for adopting a position is not “Is this the best position?” but “Will this position give me the maximum opportunity to sneer at people?” You know those people who decide to stop liking bands because they get popular? That’s what a contrarian looks like.

“I just say, leave the Irish come up with their own solutions. If it’s not good enough, let them deal with it. They chose independence from the UK.”

They will deal with it. No reason we shouldn’t comment, and support those Irish people we agree with. And for someone who wants to wash his hands of an issue you’re certainly saying a lot about it.

@18 TimJ
“Well, the obvious solution to this mess is for Ireland to reform its abortion laws. But it’s worth pointing out that in order to do so, there would need to be a referendum on a constitutional amendment”

You’ve posted this before, but I’m not sure it’s relevant. It might apply to the kind of abortion on demand we have in the UK, but this case is about a medically necessary abortion. I thought the Irish courts had approved such things and that the government was foot-dragging in its implementation.

26. the a&e charge nurse

[20] ‘if mistakes were made, a greater majority of people in the Republic would want to make sure it was unlikely to happen again’ – mistake!!

If medical decision making in this case was a simply a ‘mistake’ then there would NOT have been such an international furore.

The climate around abortion in the ROI makes it extremely difficult for individual doctors to put the needs of a patient ahead of those of the roman catholic church – the boffins are against them doing so, and so is the medical culture (abortion stats shrouded in secrecy, absence of explicit guideline to distinguish between health and life threatening situations, etc).

You say ‘something went wrong’ then account for it by attributing it to a ‘mistake’ – surely you can see that there is more to it than that?

Okay, let’s clear this one up properly.

First, as Tim J mentioned, there is a degree of semantic legerdemain in Ireland’s abortion laws, which consist of sections 58 & 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 (inherited from the UK) – which make it illegal to perform an abortion or procure/supply the means to perform an abortion – and the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, which confers on the ‘unborn’ a right to life equal to that of the mother.

Therein lies the problem.

Although emergency terminations are notionally permitted under Irish law, the constitutional amendment sets up a situation in which the doctor’s in this case refused to carry out the termination because the foetus still had a heartbeat even though the circumstances of the miscarriage – Savita presented with a fully dilated cervix and was leaking amniotic fluid – meant that there was no prospect whatsoever of preventing the miscarriage.

As numerous doctor’s have noted, in the last couple of days, the correct procedure in that situation is to carry out a termination as quickly and safely as possible due to the significant risk of secondary infection, and it was just such an infection – e-coli – that led to sepsis and Savita’s unnecessary death.

Now, to be absolutely clear, the uncertainty created by the terms of the eighth amendment was directly addressed by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 and the Irish government were specifically instructed to clean up this mess, either through legislation or by issuing clear clinical practice guidelines, making it 100% clear that the terms of the constitutional amendment does provide any doctor with legal, or ethical, grounds to delay an emergency termination in situations such as this one.It didn’t – the Irish government dithered in the face of a characteristically dishonest and extremely vocal anti-abortion campaign and did nothing.

Irish law and the failure of the Irish government to act upon the instructions of ECtHR did not directly caused this unfortunate woman’s death, but there are quite clearly a contributory factor and subject, therefore, to a degree of culpability irrespective of whether the most direct cause of death can be attributed to medical negligence. To suggest that these two things are wholly unrelated is nothing more than a desperate attempt to fabricate a bullshit excuse for an inexcusable series of abject failings.

To address a couple of other points raised in comments…

“But the Irish voted for this…” – so fucking what! I seen no reason to make any kind of distinction between individual and collective acts of barbaric stupidity and, indeed, I might point out that its entirely characteristic of the Catholic Church, in recent times, that it amongst the first to criticise others for indulging in what it regards as moral relativism except in situations in which its own moral values are scrutinised and found wanting, in which case it’s first in the queue to whinge to buggery that its critics aren’t indulging in moral relativism and giving them a free pass.

That, of course, is simple hypocrisy.

As for Brendan O’Neill’s latest bout of concern trolling, sorry but he’s a man who’s built a career out of being full of shit and this is no exception.

As regards “Why do you try and boil this down to something obvious and easy, when it’s not? It’s choosing between one life and another – why do we value one above the other? Why do you take one obviously black and white picture when it’s far from that? In what way is that helping in this debate?”

Well, as I’ve already pointed out, this genuinely was a black and white situation insofar as the miscarriage could not be prevented and the foetus was going to die irrespective of anything the doctor’s could do. It’s called triage – if you’ve got two patients, one with zero chance of surviving, the other with every chance of surviving, you treat the one that stands a chance of fucking surviving. It’s not a complex ethical question, it’s a matter of basic human decency, a concept that seems to have escaped these doctors in much the same way its has escaped those who’re trying to put up bullshit excuses to cover a situation that, by any reasonable standards of human decency, cannot be excused.

I love it when Unity rocks up and does what I only half-managed. My hero!

@28 John b

Me too. “Like” button needed!

Chaise Guevara, I really don’t see myself as ”playing the man, not the ball” as you put it. I just don’t like certain kinds of right-on leftyism that is always hectoring from the moral high ground. Whether it’s UK-uncut, or people climbing up power station chimneys, and now with the death of this woman in Ireland.

A&E charge nurse did a link to this picture yesterday, as if to say ”this says it all”.

As if Ireland is still enthrall to those people. It’s not.
Shatterface just said this on one of the other threads:
On the one hand you have women with their freedom, health and even lives at stake; on the other you have superstitious misogynists who will suffer no more than a feeling of ‘offence’.
So women in Ireland who are ”pro-life” are just superstitious misogynists? I don’t care for that kind of talk myself. It seems to show ignorance of Irish people.

Fair enough with Unity coming along and tidying up some of the detail here. What will probably happen is that the ROI will ”tidy up” this area that failed this woman so badly. But I think that many people are wanting a lot more than that. I might too, but I won’t have a vote in any referendum.

And Unity – on your view of O’Neill. It’s your opinion fine, but you don’t give any reason for saying that.
I could say someyhing equally vague about Sunny (for example).. always supporting causes as if they had obvious merrit that hardly needed discussing The eco-campaigns and ads showing polar bears falling out of the sky for eg. These things are deemed to be almost beyond criticism, and any criticism they do get, gets put down to ”right wing trolling”.
Myself, I would prefer much wider open debate where people weren’t always so suspicious of other’s motives.

Israel/Palestine would be one of those things too.
Has anyone even looked at some of the hawkish things they’ve been saying on Harry’s Place? You’ll get called ”anti-semitic” within an hour if you make a few posts on there they don’t like. I really hate that crap, and I don’t like it when people go with the ”contrarian” word either.

“Vaginas and wombs are all male conservatives require from woman. Oh and a very small education that allows them to know how to cook.”

I presume you don’t literally believe that, because no one could.

Maybe try to empathize with your opponents a little?

(And what does this have to do with “male conservatives” anyway? There are loads of women who oppose abortion – Nadine Dorries to name just one.)

32. the a&e charge nurse

[30] hang on, Damon – you were the one who regarded ‘culture’ as a key element in this story.

I pointed out that catholicism was the dominant cultural force in ireland – what else explains why a western liberal democracy would entertain abortion laws more restrictive than saudi arabia?

And A&E charge nurse, I said that was far too crude and showed that a greater majority of people in Ireland were very pro gay rights. Which means they can’t be too under the thumb of the catholic church.
You don’t have to be under the influence of backward churches to be against abortion. Although obviously, some of them are.

The Catholic church has lost most of it’s power.
Culture is more than just religion. Religion isn’t probably Ireland’s bigest cultural factor any more.
By a long way I’d say.

34. the a&e charge nurse

[27] pedant alert!! – while I substantially agree with John B & Cherub @ 28+29 I am not sure that ‘triage’ is quite the right term in these circumstances.

The phrase is often associated with the napoleonic battlefield – to trier, or sort – triage usually implies mass casualties and a mismatch between demand and resources (thus raising dilemmas about who is most entitled to immediate treatment).

In this case the word triage might have been appropriate had there been 10 simultaneous obstetric emergencies all requiring surgery at a hospital with only only 3 readied theatres – but in this case even if 20 fully staffed and equipped theatres had been available the doctors STILL would not have performed an abortion.

A&E

I take your point – triage may not be the correct term in a literal sense, but the underlying principle is not dissimilar in the sense that, in a acute situation, you don’t prioritise absolutely hopeless cases over cases where you have a viable chance of saving a patient, not if you have aspirations of being a decent human being.

36. Chaise Guevara

@ 30 damon

“Chaise Guevara, I really don’t see myself as ”playing the man, not the ball” as you put it.”

Hah. “I do this stuff all the time, but I don’t see myself as someone who does this stuff, so that’s ok.”

“I just don’t like certain kinds of right-on leftyism that is always hectoring from the moral high ground.”

Damon, I don’t like unreasonable, mindless right-on-ness either. You know that. But that doesn’t change the fact that you actually have to present an argument, rather than just muttering on forever about the character of the person saying things you dislike.

“A&E charge nurse did… Shatterface just said…”

And what, exactly? I tend to agree with those two commenters in general, but not always, and not here, so are you calling on me to defend statements I don’t support?

“But I think that many people are wanting a lot more than that. I might too, but I won’t have a vote in any referendum.”

Talking points aren’t limited to things that you’ll be asked to vote on.

37. Derek Hattons Tailor

What this boils down to is whether you consider the child’s life to be more valuable than the mothers. NHS policy is to save the mother (where a choice has to be made), it’s not one that everyone agrees with, and, in purely adaptive terms, it’s illogical.

37

This woman was 17 weeks into the pregnancy and the foetus could not survive outside of the womb, in what way would it have been maladaptive or illogical to perform an abortion to save the woman?

Chaise Guevara @36, I missed your post untill now.
OK whatever. This internet stuff is just too hard and really doesn’t work (for me). It’s like trying to have a conversation through a thick concrete wall.

My point has only been, that in Ireland, enough people don’t want to make abortion legal. Sure pass your comments on their laws and culture. I just don’t like it when people call them backward and such things.
It’s their country and they make their own laws.
One thread on LC might have been enough. Not many people showed much understanding of Ireland as a country.

And guess what Chaise? Spiked spoke about similar issues four years ago during the run up to the previous US election, where ever-so-trendy right on liberal urbanites were worrying about the blue collar workers in small town Appalachia being socially backward and voting Republican. Remember the guns and bibles quote. And how they were against abortion and all dreadful things like that.
Barack Obama and the politicisation of lifestyle
The most striking thing about the 2008 race for the White House is the ‘blue’ elite’s unrestrained disdain for its ‘bitter’ moral inferiors.

But I know you really don’t like that Chaise.
To me it’s completely true and obvious.
The UKuncut people hate those ‘knuckle dragging morons’.

During my travels in America, I often encounter people who unthinkingly and moralistically condemn their fellow citizens’ values, emotions or faith. Indeed, the politicisation of people’s personal values, even their lifestyle, strikes me as one of the most distinctive features of public life in contemporary America. Some seem to take their lifestyles so seriously that they do not simply disagree with people who have a different outlook to them – rather they heap contempt and loathing on those ‘other’ individuals’ manners, habits and values.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 39

Damon, the attitude you’re complaining about here is exactly the same thing I’m criticising you for doing.

You’ve posted this before, but I’m not sure it’s relevant. It might apply to the kind of abortion on demand we have in the UK, but this case is about a medically necessary abortion. thought the Irish courts had approved such things and that the government was foot-dragging in its implementation.

But the thing is that Ireland is a common law jurisdiction. The ‘X’ case meant that the life of the mother exception is part of Irish law – there’s no need for a legislative amendment or enactment to give it effect. The problem is one of interpretation.

Now, to be absolutely clear, the uncertainty created by the terms of the eighth amendment was directly addressed by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 and the Irish government were specifically instructed to clean up this mess, either through legislation or by issuing clear clinical practice guidelines, making it 100% clear that the terms of the constitutional amendment does provide any doctor with legal, or ethical, grounds to delay an emergency termination in situations such as this one.

Agreed. What’s needed is clear direction as to what a “real substantive risk” actually is. I have to admit though that I struggle to see how, in a legal environment where a potential risk of suicide is considered sufficient grounds for termination, that doctors did not consider sepsis to be good grounds.

Do people really think that people who are anti-abortion are anti-women? I mean, perhaps there are a select few who have misogynistic tendencies, just as there are a select few who practically seem to celebrate each abortion, but in the whole they are just people that believe conception is the start of human life, and as such that life is to be protected as in any other context.

At the end of the day the debate must (surely?) come down to when people think human life commences, because in any other context the majority of people on here, I imagine, would be vehemently promoting the right to protection from violence and death as a fundamental right.

Granted, this tragic case in Ireland is different because it is the life of two individuals that are threatened. The closest comparison I can think of is co-joined twins where they will both die soon if kept together but one will survive if the other dies. A rare and tragic case but nevertheless one in which somebody needs to make an immensely difficult decision.

But yes, I just wanted to establish this grounding as common ground for these discussions.

but in the whole they are just people that believe conception is the start of human life, and as such that life is to be protected as in any other context.

The view that a zygote is the same thing deserving of the same protections living human needs protection is *so obviously ridiculous* that the only reason anyone could possibly advocate it is either through gibbering insanity, or dishonestly because it allows them greater control over women’s bodies.

Charitably, I’m assuming that people willing to make such a ridiculous claim are doing so because they are dishonest misogynists, rather than because they are certifiable lunatics.

44. Chaise Guevara

@ 42 Chris

“Do people really think that people who are anti-abortion are anti-women?”

Plenty of people think that. To be fair, there’s some basis in fact: I’d say that the number of card-carrying misogynists among pro-lifers is more than a few. But plenty of people hold that it’s an inherently misogynistic position; that thinking the z/e/f has the right to life logically proves that you hate women. And that is bullshit. It’s simply not a requirement.

Problem is, people seek to demonise their enemies, and in doing so they convince themselves that nobody could disagree with them and be a good, sane person. John B has provided an excellent example of this kind of thing above.

Problem is, people seek to demonise their enemies, and in doing so they convince themselves that nobody could disagree with them and be a good, sane person. John B has provided an excellent example of this kind of thing above.

There was a good article by Dominic Lawson about this in the Sunday Times too.

46. Chaise Guevara

@ Tim

This is my go-to when I want to convince someone but feel my own eloquence is lacking: http://lesswrong.com/lw/i0/are_your_enemies_innately_evil/


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    This is the real meaning of a ‘pro-life’ stance http://t.co/NWVuv4cw

  2. Natacha Kennedy

    Great article exposing the hypocrisy of the so-called "pro-lifers" http://t.co/vaGkWlov #Abortion

  3. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – This is the real meaning of a ‘pro-life’ stance http://t.co/MvptmQJt

  4. Milly

    Pro-Life indeed. http://t.co/mQwRFYjE





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