“The doctor told us the cervix was fully dilated, amniotic fluid was leaking and unfortunately the baby wouldn’t survive.” The doctor, he says, said it should be over in a few hours. There followed three days, he says, of the foetal heartbeat being checked several times a day.
“Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. 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 foetal heartbeat we can’t do anything’.
“Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.
“That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took bloods and started her on antibiotics.
They ignored the very real, and very alive, and very aware, and very traumatized, woman in front of them, because they were so-called Christian, and thought there was this heartbeat. This still-alive but dying fetus, and that took precedence over her 31 years of life. As if she never was. And they let that baby die inside her. They gave her antibiotics as if it was sepsis alone and not a dying baby that was killing her. and then. when it was probably too damn late, but not a second before that little heart stopped beating, they finally decided to remove the corpse of her dead baby. Her baby.
The Catholic Church doesn't give a shit. If you have a womb, you live and die by it. That's what she got told, and herself not Catholic. Her body, ridden with a preventable disease died because her life was secondary to a heartbeat. All she was. All she ever was. The child of her parents, the spouse of her husband. A young professional. A friend. And because someone heard a heartbeat--she was Nobody. A womb with an inconvenient history. A toss-away. A discard.
Don't anyone ever tell me "pro-life" means anything like "in favor of the living" when a young woman can die for the sin of getting pregnant. Don't anyone ever tell me that the pro-life position is anything but misogynist when this is how a woman dies--because a heartbeat took precedence over all of her existence, everything she ever meant to her loved ones. Everything she ever wanted for herself. And she did speak for herself, and she did try and tell them what she wanted for her body--to live!
But alas. Pro-life! She was only the mother, so she had to die. And her dead baby had to die before anyone would listen to the sad likes of her.
So here is just one of the many examples of my anger about things like this abominable heartbeat amendment in Ohio. How many people, not Catholic, nor any kind of evangelical, might find themselves screwed out of being able to chose what to do with their bodies, by their government? By what right does the government purport to own a woman's body? No matter who votes to say they do? Is a woman property? To whom does she owe her labor?And how many women might die because of it, or be injured, or be very much poorer for having a child, not that would kill them, but that they simply could not physically, fiscally, emotionally, realistically, afford to raise?
Women deserve to be heard, to be treated as people--to have precedence over a mere heartbeat. To be able to choose to live, and to choose the life that benefits them and the children they either have or will have. Anything less could hardly be called "pro-life". Because women are so people. And they are so alive. And they should not be the victims of their fertility.