Anti-abortion zealots show their true colors when they continually try to harm women who miscarry.  The three women discussed here had to put up with some kind of abuse, one, horrendously severe.

The first, Jackie Speier, a Congresswoman from California’s 14th District, was listening to a Republican diatribe about abortion. She became so angry that she relinquished her privacy and announced that she had had such an abortion as soon as she went to a public hospital,  when in the 17th week of pregnancy, she started to miscarry. (link) She spoke up for the millions of women who had had such abortions and were being made out to be some sort of monsters by Republican politicians who shameless demonize abortions, and by extension, the women who terminate a pregnancy.

The second woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, is described in a Rewire article titled “A Miscarrying Woman Nearly Died after Catholic Hospital sent her Home Three Times”. (link) The article, which should be read in its entirety, describes how Catholic hospitals are under the control of the Council of Bishops, one of the most virulently anti-abortion groups in the world. They do their best  to prevent women who are miscarrying from obtaining abortions, a denial of care that can endanger health and lead to death

The third woman, Savita Halappanavar, lost her life because of the anti-abortionists in Ireland.  She was confronted with the trifecta of attitudinal anti-abortionists, hospital anti-abortionists and legal anti-abortionists relying on constitutional amendment passed in Ireland in 1983.  (link) 

On Oct. 21, 2012, Savita Halappanavar, 17 weeks pregnant, presented at University Hospital Galway complaining of back pain and was discharged without diagnosis.  She returned later that same day, saying that she felt pressure lower in her abdomen.  This time examination showed that the gestational sac was protruding from her body.  It was determined that miscarriage and death of the fetus was unavoidable, and she was admitted to the hospital.  The requests that she and her husband made for an abortion were repeatedly denied.  After several days, her water broke, but she still did not expel the fetus.  Finally, weakened, sickened, and in pain, she was somehow able to expel the fetus. It was too late.  She died early in the morning of Oct 28, after her sepsis had become irreversible.

Savita was one of those middle class individuals who many claim could “easily get an abortion, if she wanted one.”  She was a successful dentist, her husband an engineer.  She could easily have afforded to go to England for an abortion.  But she was trapped in a cultural prejudice in a Catholic Hospital and a legal system that cared more about the physiology of the dying fetus than the well-being of a pregnant woman.

We have not yet reached the situation that Savita had to confront.  In the USA we still have the law on our side, except in Texas, but perhaps not for long.  In an instant, reproductive rights could disappear in all the anti-abortion states.

The Women’s March planned for Saturday, October 2, is not a moment too soon.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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