Whited Sepulchre

Warning: the subject matter of this post is disturbing. I don’t want to upset anyone who may be feeling fragile, so please wait for my next post for more knitting and the like, ok?

The streets of Dublin reflected a very different aspect of Ireland yesterday, one that less palatable than our usual image, but sadly very real, none the less.
I may not often give the impression here, but there are some things in life that I find more important than knitting! Human rights, not surprisingly, I hope, is one such issue. Their regular violation in my own country, supported by the State’s laws, is something I have been protesting against all my adult life and this weekend is the latest example.
So this is why my usual style of post has been postponed: I am furious, I am ashamed of my country and I need to get this off my chest, whether anyone reads it or not! Yet another woman has been deliberately allowed to die unnecessarily in childbed in this country. It took her three days to die in hospital, and she knew all along that a straightforward intervention would save her. Yet that help was withheld…
Savita Halappanavar’s death has attracted international notice, because she was an Indian national. However, Ireland does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, religion, age or gen……. oops, I take that back- anyone who experiences difficulty during a pregnancy here has an equal opportunity to die.
So yesterday, thousands of us took to the streets to express our outrage, our sincere sympathy for the family of Ms Halappanavar and our determination to change this state of affairs. And if it takes international censure to drag this country into the 21st century, then so be it- it’s well-deserved.

13 thoughts on “Whited Sepulchre

  1. I knew you were upset yesterday, Pauline – I was even tempted to email you. Incredible post – and I’m glad you felt safe to write it. Tell me, because I don’t fully understand, was this an abortion issue? Please know I’m with you and wish there were more I could do. It takes a strong person to stand against a government – I hope yours responds to the call.

    • I have been marching and voting on this issue all my adult life, but Ireland is a very conservative country and our Constitution accords a special place to the Catholic Church, so politicians have been avoiding the subject of a woman’s right to choose. While I don’t believe that abortion should ever be taken lightly, I am firmly pro-choice!

      • As I was raised Catholic, I understand – although in the US our constitution calls for separation between church and state. And so, it falls to people like you to help make the changes your country needs. I wish you strength in the midst of this storm, Pauline and please know, I’m right there with you – in beliefs and in the protest marchs.

  2. Pauline–I applaud your posting this. I have followed this story and I too am appalled that Doctors, who have sworn to uphold an oath to do no harm, could allow something like this to happen. And I am also very, very aware that but for a few million votes, the US could find itself in a very similar boat–which frankly scares the pants off of me. Hopefully no more women will have to die to make a point.

    • Unfortunately, she is actually the most recent in a long line of victims- it’s just that the circumstances in which they died are hushed up/ reported as “natural causes”. And still our government is trying to wriggle it’s way out of appropriate legislation… At the moment, any professional who had intervened could have been jailed and struck off the medical register as an infanticide (not that I find that any excuse for watching her die of poisoning for three days- just explaining the horrors of our current legal system).

  3. I am glad that you brought this story to the attention of those like me who missed it. It is simply unacceptable that in 2012 this is allowed to happen! If I lived in Dublin I know that I would be on the line with you.

    • Thanks! Unfortunately,there are too many people who do live here who don’t give a fiddler’s curse about women’s rights, or children’s rights for that matter! These people assume that any woman in difficulties will head across to England for an anonymous abortion, as indeed hundreds do every year, keeping the problems out of the sight of the comfortable hypocrites…

      • That’s too bad … it seems we never learn our lessons, do we? We must learn to look out for each other and stand up for the rights of all … You can substitute any group(s) you wish in this statement which is attributed to Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), but regardless of the group(s), the sentiment is always the same …

        “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.
        “Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
        “Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
        “Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

        I hope that you will be joined by others and that your voices will be heard …

    • At least now- one month after her death- the government is reluctantly beginning to take the issue seriously. We have to keep the pressure up though, or it’ll be swept under the carpet yet again.

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