-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
We have previously discussed the case of Mrs. Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman in Ireland who died in agony when doctors refused to perform an abortion that could have saved her life. The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Office has issued a statement regarding Savita’s death. The statement provides no guidance that would help prevent a similar episode from occurring again.
Savita’s death has been a huge PR problem for the Catholic church and should lead a rational person to question those who claim to have the authority to determine morality for us all. A morality that cannot be sustained via rational thought should be discarded. This statement makes no attempt to rationally defend Catholic moral teaching.
The Bishops state that:
Where a seriously ill pregnant woman needs medical treatment which may put the life of her baby at risk, such treatments are ethically permissible provided every effort has been made to save the life of both the mother and her baby.
Note the use of the term “baby” to refer to a fetus. Conflating baby and fetus is a common psychological ploy to appeal to our emotional self rather than our rational self. Who do we want determining the best medical treatment, a medical professional, or a member of the Clan of the Red Beanie™?
In the real world, the choice often comes down to saving one life or the other. If an abortion is best medical treatment to save the woman’s life, the Bishops have an answer:
… abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an unborn baby and is gravely immoral in all circumstances …
Apparently, it is not immoral to let the woman suffer an agonizing death that is easily preventable.
The Bishop’s statement also contradicts itself. On the one hand, the Bishops say that “such treatments are ethically permissible,” and on the other hand, abortions are “immoral in all circumstances.” An abortion, in Savita’s case, would have been a medical treatment that put the life of her fetus at extreme risk. Such a medical treatment cannot be both “ethically permissible” and “gravely immoral.”
The irrationality of Catholic morality is evidenced when a woman’s life is saved by an abortion. Often, she is then able to have other children that would never have existed without that abortion. A zero-tolerance of abortion alleviates the condition having to think.
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