A tale of two countries: women’s reproductive rights in Ireland and the USBMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2471 (Published 07 June 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2471
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I'm horrified at the way Savita Halappanavar's death has been spun by the media and even parts of the medical profession to push for liberalising Irish abortion law.
Despite triggering >2 SIRs criteria and having a potential source of infection (prolonged rupture of membanes with inevitable miscarriage), sepsis wasn't considered as a diagnosis by Savita's team. Hence, a sepsis 6 was not completed, no lactate checked, and the patient was only commenced on oral antibiotics. When Savita became pyrexial, paracetamol was repeatedly given for her pyrexial episodes and sepsis continued to be overlooked as a diagnosis. In fact, though the patient continued to show signs of sepsis/septic shock, it was 22 hours before this was recognised by her doctors.
Savita's story is one of missed sepsis. This is acknowledged by the report you reference in your article (1). If Savita's team had recognised this, they could have instigated early sepsis treatment and performed a legal termination of pregnancy under the current Irish law. Abortion is not illegal in Ireland despite what the media have led the public to believe. It is in fact legal when the mother's life is at risk, and Savita's life was at risk. The law did not have to change to save Savita's life. This is wrong.
I'm appalled at the lack of knowledge regarding this fact, and the failure of the BMJ to report this is worrying. It makes one wonder if there is inherent bias in the BMJ, as well as the BMA, and numerous other medical bodies/organisations. Maybe we should stop pointing the finger at Ireland, and examine our own consciences.
Competing interests: I am a practicing Christian. I am passionate about truth. I do not blindly subscribe to the teachings or doctrine or any particular church or denomination. My personal beliefs are based upon 3 'pillars': the Bible, science and rational thought.
The article states "Added to this were over 160 000 women known to have left the country to obtain abortions safely in the UK because abortion was prohibited in Ireland". Surely this should read 'in Great Britain' (not 'in the UK') as abortion is also highly restricted (verging on prohibited) in Northern Ireland.
Competing interests: No competing interests
Abortion won't go away and settle into the canon of medical "pathology" or standard "management." It will always keep people awake, energized and driven as this editorial shows. The great human outcries of past centuries were also forever alive in people's hearts and minds. The voices of the oppressed can never be silenced and the truth will out. The liberation from slavery in USA. The many fights for freedom in suppressed countries worldwide. The "hidden" genocides and ethnic cleansings all spoke out. Many were redressed.
People are human and eventually the voice of suffering and oppression breaks through and human beings hear the voice and respond by liberating the oppressed and comforting the suffering - because it resonates with their spirit and humanity. This is the evidence and experience of humanity. This is also why abortion speaks out. The voices of millions of human beings not allowed to take a breath of fresh air will not be silenced. These are the generations of English men and women and Irish men and women who never got a chance. The editorial in this week's BMJ makes no reference to the innocent party in the drama - the innocent oppressed and ultimately suffering unborn baby.
Abortion is not a right or a procedure or solely a woman's issue. It involves two others. The father and the innocent victim. It makes absolutely no sense to say an unborn gains human rights by the act of birth. Pre- natal and perinatal and genetic and epigenetic studies clearly show that what grows in a woman's womb is a vulnerable developing fragile human being. A truthful editorial on the origins of human beings, like any credible comprehensive assessment, must include all the actors. In this case - baby, mother and father. Some champion is needed to fly the flag of unborn human rights and represent the just most fundamental right which is to get a free and fair chance at life.
Competing interests: No competing interests