Abortion Saved My Mother's Life. Savita Halappanavar Was Not So Lucky.
My Mother could have been Savita Halappanavar, the expectant mother who needlessly died recently in an Irish hospital. Due to harsh and confusing abortion laws, the doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy, even though it was apparent that neither she nor her child would survive it. They watched as Ms. Halappanavar writhed in pain, unable to expel the dying fetus that was killing her, and unable to get the doctors to act.
In 1971, my mother was 24 and had two young children. She was five months along with a third when she experienced complications and began severely hemorrhaging. She went to the hospital afraid she would miscarry. Many painful hours later, exhausted from blood loss, she lay frightened atop a heap of bloody sheets and towels, scared that she would die, terrified that she would never see her young children again.
She was shocked when the doctors finally told her she would bleed to death if she did not terminate her pregnancy. They brought her abortion papers to sign and rushed her into surgery. The short story is that they saved my mother’s life. The real story is more than that, though.
By valuing my mother’s life enough to save it, the doctors saved my life, too. If she hadn’t had a safe and legal abortion, my younger brother and I would not have been born, and my older siblings would have lost their mother before they could even write her name.
If anti-abortion laws are based on a respect for life, then what do they say about Savita Halappanavar’s?