Thursday, November 15, 2012


I suspect you've heard this horrible story:

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she miscarried and died last month. Ireland's government confirmed Wednesday that Halappanavar suffered from blood poisoning and died after being denied an abortion, reigniting the debate over legalizing abortion in the predominantly Catholic country.

My time to worry about my own body like this has passed.  But I have a daughter.  Can you imagine how Savita Halappanavar's mother must  be feeling?  She went home from a visit the day before the miscarriage happened.  She probably left Ireland thrilled by the prospect of a grandchild and then three days later her own daughter was dead.  Just try to imagine the depth of despair and the height of rage Savita Halappanavar's mother must feel, knowing her daughter died senselessly, after agonizing pain. 

But that's what illegal abortion does. It doesn't result in fewer abortions.  It results in more abortions.  And it results in dead women and girls. 

Access to contraception lowers the rate of abortion.  A lot.  Access to sex education, absent that toxic abstinence only bullshit, lowers the rate of abortion even more.  But in countries where abortion is illegal, they have more abortions and more dead women and girls:

Unsafe clandestine abortion is responsible for an estimated 100-200,000 deaths among women in developing countries each year and accounts for 25-50% of all maternal deaths in some regions, especially Latin America. A third of the population of the Third World lives in countries where abortion is illegal or permitted only in extreme cases. Mortality from clandestine abortions in developing countries may be as high as 400/100,000 procedures compared with 6/200,000 in situations where abortion is legal. 

Of course, Savita Halappanavar didn't die of an unsafe abortion.  She died from being denied a safe abortion.  

And can you imagine how her mother feels?

I can't.  All I know is that I I hope I never do.