Savita Halappanavar: The Face of Christian Extremism & Inability to Deal With Grey Matter

As reported recently in almost every major news outlet, a young Indian woman by the name of Savita Halappanavar has recently passed due to an early pregnancy miscarriage, and was refused an abortion in an Ireland Catholic hospital. This horrible event has sparked outrage among many in Ireland about the legality (or lack of legality) of abortions. In fact, things have escalated so much that even the Indian government is now getting involved in the matter.

Savita Halappanavar had been complaining of severe pains and her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, related the story like this,

Savita Halappanavar Abortion related death“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby,” he told The Irish Times in a telephone interview from Belgaum, southwest India. “When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked if they could not save the baby, could they induce to end the pregnancy? The consultant said: `As long as there is a fetal heartbeat, we can’t do anything.’

“Again on Tuesday morning … the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: `I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do,”


Now, this story is awful, but is not a stand alone incident. According to the World Health Organization, 800 women each day die from birth related issues. That is almost 300K lost lives. The majority of those happen in poorer countries and areas where terminating the pregnancy is not an option for the mother.

I personally find that many people or people groups have a hard time determining right from wrong when circumstances are uncertain. This is true especially of religious groups. So the questions at hand are, at what point does something wrong become right? Or at what time does something wrong become acceptable, provided the end result is inline with God’s will? And does terminating the life of the baby to save the life of the mother still murder? Should the mother and father have the right to make a call between the life of the mother and life of the baby? If one or the other is certain to die, is it wrong to preference the mother? Does terminating the pregnancy to save the mother altar the plans of God? Does it show a lack of faith?

All these questions came to mind as I was reading about this young woman. I can say for myself that I would never want to have to make that decision and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.These are very difficult questions to grapple with. I think this presents a clear case of theory VS reality. For example, I know in theory that it is wrong to kill. But if I had a daughter and she was raped, I would probably feel like the killing of the rapist was deserving….not wrong.

Likewise, whereas almost all Christians agree that abortion is wrong, once once’s wife is in the situation where it is either her life or the child’s life, that decision takes on a whole different meaning. What would you do? I am curious about the reange of opinions on this.

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