We have this week seen the news of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland.   Savita died, according to the news after several days of pain and infection, during which she miscarried her 17wk unborn child.   Reports indicate that doctors refused to provide Savita with appropriate treatment for her inevitable miscarriage, citing Catholic doctrine as a reason for not removing her unborn in order to save her life.

We don't have all the information about what treatment was given to Savita, and whether she was given appropriate management to prevent and treat the severe infection which ultimately ended her life.   It seems highly inappropriate for this young woman's death to be used to push for the availability of abortion in Ireland or to attack a particular church based on misinformation.

The fact is that the Catholic church does not advocate a position whereby a woman is expected to die for the sake of her unborn.   In a situation such as Savita's (with the limited information available) it is permissible for the unborn child to be removed in order to save the life of the mother.   The issue here has to do with intent.   Abortion is the deliberate and intentional termination of the life of the unborn, or live delivery of the unborn with the intention that the child die.

Delivering this unborn child would definitely have resulted in his/her death, however the intent would have been to save the life of the mother.    What this means in practise is that it is not the Catholic church position that caused Savita to die.   It therefore stands to reason that this is also not about a lack of access to abortion;   the deliberate intent to terminate the life of the fetus to bring an end to pregnancy. It is more likely a case of medical mismanagment or negligence that should be addressed on that basis.

What abortion advocates are doing with the tragedy of Savita is using her death to push an ideological position that has nothing to do with Savita's case.   If the media reporting is correct and doctors denied her life saving treatment, they should be charged with whatever the law in Ireland permits..