When the Irish government announced its plans for an investigative probe into the death of Savita Halappanavar—the 31-year-old Galway woman who died painfully and senselessly after being denied an abortion by Catholic hospital administrators—Halappanavar's husband was less than satisfied. The original seven-member panel contained three senior doctors from University Hospital Galway, the facility where Halappanavar died. Outraged at the prospect that his wife's death would not receive an objective, independent, public investigation, Praveen Halappanavar refused to speak with investigators or release his late wife's medical records to the panel.
And rightly so, because FUCK THOSE DUDES.
In an abrupt and, hopefully, promising reversal, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced today that the three problematic doctors have been removed from the panel and will be replaced with independent officials not affiliated with the hospital. Though he has not, as of yet, consented to make the investigation public, Kenny says he hopes the adjustments to the panel will persuade Halappanavar to cooperate with the investigation.
"A man's wife has died. Nothing will bring her back," Kenny said. "But it is important for our country, for our people, for the family, for everybody concerned to ascertain the truth of what happened here. And this investigation can hopefully do that with the cooperation of Mr. Halappanavar."
Halappanavar did not immediately respond to the prime minister's reversal. He previously also faulted the Irish probe on several points, because it would not be a public inquiry involving witnesses testifying under oath.
...The chairman of the probe, Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, said he hoped to have a face-to-face meeting with Halappanavar to persuade him to change his mind about talking to investigators because his testimony on his wife's care would be central to identifying problems.
Not to be flippant here, but I can identify ONE pretty clear problem off the top of my head: Stop letting ancient mythology dictate the medical care of modern human beings, especially when those human beings do not even subscribe to that particular mythology. Stop letting women die because of some paternalistic notion about the sanctity of their reproductive organs—as though a woman's uterus isn't a body part that deserves medical care, it's a magical box filled with treasure that somehow belongs to the fucking Pope. If you're a doctor, don't kill your patients because of an invisible dude in the sky that you've never met. Or, if that's your thing, open an "invisible dude in the sky hospital," and give people a heads-up that they're not going to get adequate, just, unbiased medical treatment there.
Because that's what this is—it's a bias. It's a bias against women. It's judging us incompetent to have authority over our own bodies and our own medical care.
In an interview with The Irish Times, Halappanavar said he doubted Ireland would have done anything public had he not spoken out.
He noted that he received zero communication from the hospital and Health Services Executive during the two weeks following his wife's death, when he returned her body to India for a Hindu funeral and cremation.
"It is a pity because I thought Ireland would care more for someone so young who died. That let me down. ... Maybe Savita was born to change the laws here," he told The Irish Times.
That shouldn't have been her responsibility. That shouldn't have been what her life was for. She was born to live—not to be killed by a cruel, misogynistic fiction. But if global attitudes toward abortion and female bodily autonomy do manage to shift, even slightly, in the aftermath of Savita's death, at least she'll have died for progress instead of stagnation. At least she'll have died for future Savitas instead of for the Catholic fucking church.