Abortion, For Any Reason, Up To Birth – The Abortion Lobby’s Ultimate Sub-Humanist Campaign

by Peter D. Williams

This morning, a campaign was launched to promote the most extreme proposals ever officially advocated by the abortion lobby: abortion up to birth, and for any reason. Headed by BPAS, the leading organisation of the UK abortion industry, the campaign also includes eight abortion lobby groups (interestingly, this number does not include Abortion Rights UK) who together comprise just less than half of all the campaign.

The radical platform the campaign prescribes is unsurprising in its content, if nonetheless astonishing in its extremity, when you know how BPAS under the leadership of Ann Furedi has consistently advocated for the removal of all restrictions on the practice of abortion. Furedi is one of the most intellectually open and honest of all abortion lobbyists, and unlike the majority of people on either side of the abortion debate, she is strikingly (if hideously) consistent in her view that abortion should be available for any reason at any stage of gestation. In her view, the autonomy of the mother outweighs any intrinsic rights or value her unborn child may have.

This ideological commitment entails that she, and the abortion lobby, do not just want to amend current UK laws on abortion, they want to do away with them altogether. For many, such a proposal will come as a surprise, not merely because of its radicalism, but because it identifies something that is less well known than perhaps it should be: Abortion is a crime under UK law.

Under sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, abortion is what used to be called a ‘felony’. Moreover, all abortions after 28 weeks are prohibited under the crime of ‘Child Destruction’ due to the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. Some abortions are de iure permissible due to legal precedents set in court cases, and due to the Abortion Act 1967, which gave exemptions from prosecution under the 1861 Act for performing abortions for a few ostensibly very narrow reasons, as long as two doctors affirmed in ‘good faith’ that the conditions of the Act were met. (These exemptions were extended to the 1929 Act, and an upper limit for most abortions set at 24 weeks, in 1990.) The abuse of this Act has led to a de facto situation of abortion on demand, but the letter of the law means that abortion is indeed, as a legal norm, still banned.

The consequence of this is that some people are still prosecuted to this day for performing late abortions outside of a medical context. I wrote in December about two such recent cases: Kevin Wilson was found guilty of ‘Child Destruction’ for having assaulted his ex-girlfriend (whom he had tried to pressure into an ‪abortion) by stamping on her stomach, causing his unborn child (then at 32 weeks) to be stillborn. Natalie Towers, a woman in County Durham, was convicted of the same crime after taking contraction-inducing drugs whilst heavily pregnant in order to miscarry her unborn son, who, posthumously called ‘Luke’ by the medical staff, was also at 32-34 weeks and consequently died of oxygen starvation.

For the abortion lobby, the prosecution of the Towers case was an outrage, and they have decried UK abortion law as an unacceptable ‘patriarchal’ limitation on the personal autonomy of women, a ‘Victorian’ relic of a time before women even had the vote. (This language is employed regardless of Towers being prosecuted under a law passed in the 20s, after female suffrage was secured.) Unsurprisingly for a campaign ‘conceived’ and so dominated by them, the arguments for it are similar typical pro-abortion tropes.

It’s been given the title and hashtag ‘We Trust Women’, as if laws restricting abortion were about questioning the decision-making powers of individual women, rather than providing at least some protections for unborn children. It gratuitously asserts that restricting abortion denies women ‘fundamental rights’, even though there is not and never has been a right to abortion. It argues from a radical view of bodily autonomy, claiming that it is a legal principle that “a person’s body is their own”. This despite the fact that we are actually legally limited in what we can do even with our own body – we may not, for example, contract a doctor to remove one of our healthy limbs just because we want them to – let alone the body of another, such as that of our unborn child.

Consequently, Furedi, BPAS, and the wider campaign they are leading wants to see the total ‘decriminalisation’ of abortion. They point to the Australian state of Victoria as a precedent, where abortion lobbyists succeeded in passing profoundly permissive abortion laws in 2008. The UK campaign’s plans, however, go far beyond even what abortion lobbyists succeeded in gaining Down Under. Though the Victorian law allows for abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy, it is only on demand up to 24 weeks. For abortions to be performed further than that, certain physical, psychological and social grounds have to be approved by two doctors, though this can be the operating surgeon and anaesthetist. The UK campaign would, by contrast, have no limitations whatsoever.

The problem for the abortion lobby’s campaign, is that their view is completely contrary to where science, medicine, and public opinion have moved in the last few decades. Consequently, the manifesto her campaign has drawn up is far removed from what is morally and politically acceptable.

If abortion in the UK were to become as totally deregulated as the abortion lobby would like, this would mean removing that two doctors give their ‘good faith’ judgement that the abortion is necessary for certain prescribed reasons, and that doctors alone (not nurses) should carry out abortions. It would also include the license of abortions that most people rightly find abhorrent: such as abortions based on the sex of the unborn child. Just as the preferred abortion lobby term ‘pro-choice’ simply begs the question ‘Which choice?’, so ‘We Trust Women’ begs the question, ‘To do what?’ To have sex-selective abortions (which Furedi has supported, and BPAS has insisted is legal, despite Government disagreement)? To kill their child at 32-34 weeks as Natalie Towers did?

Such an agenda runs counter to the consensus of UK public opinion. As RTL reported earlier:

“In October 2014, a ComRes poll found that 84% of people favoured a total and explicit ban on abortions based on the baby’s sex, including 85% of women. Another ComRes poll in March that same year found a similar figure, with 86% of people favouring a total ban (including 88% of women). This latter poll also found that 89% (92% of women) agreed that a woman requesting an abortion should always be seen in person by a qualified doctor, and 76% (78% of women) agreed that the health of women considering an abortion would be put at risk unless the doctors who sign abortion request forms had also seen the patient.”

What the abortion lobby are asking for – for nurses to be allowed to perform abortions and for abortion to be so on demand that it could take place for the purposes of sex-selection – completely contradicts what the vast majority of the public, especially women, think about those issues.

The marginality in the appeal of this extreme campaign, however is only one dimension in the practical question of its popular relevance. As the advent of 4D imaging, improvements in the ability of doctors to save pre-term babies, and better public knowledge of embryology have all made increasingly clear to the wider proportion of Britons, abortion always involves the destruction of an unborn human being. The life of a defenceless child is ended at precisely the time and place where they should be safest. As public awareness of unborn humanity increases, so more horrifying the idea of a total and sub-humanist disregard of the dignity and right to life of children in the womb will become.

More critiques can (and will) be made of the ‘We Trust Women’ campaign. What is immediately clear for now is that it is nothing less than the apotheosis of pro-abortion ideology. It is a campaign that dresses itself in feminism despite enabling gendercide. It prescribes a legal and social scenario utterly unacceptable to the majority of Britons. It involves a callous disregard for the humanity and rights of unborn children. In short, it is a ludicrous and hopelessly unrealistic move that only serves to helpfully demonstrate the extremism, anti-feminism, and inhumanity of the abortion lobby.

Hypocritical Horror: Society’s Incoherent Attitude To Child Destruction

by Peter D. Williams

Our society furnishes us with many examples of its inconsistent approach to the lives of unborn children. The perennial debate over the ‘upper limit’ on ‘Ground C’ abortions has raised stories of hospitals where babies at twenty-four weeks gestation have been aborted on one floor, whilst in the intensive care unit doctors will be trying to save the life of a baby at the same stage of development. Four stories in the last month however, have particularly well illustrated the schizophrenia of our society (in the colloquial and etymological sense of being ‘split-minded’, not in any sense that is purposefully pejorative of mental illness) when it comes to the destruction of fetal human beings.

The Iraqi activist group ‘Mosul Eye’ recently reported that a Saudi named Abu Said Aljazrawi, one of the ‘Judges’ of the Shar’i Board – that is, those who rule on the application of Islamic Sharia Law – of the terrorist group ISIS, has issued an ‘Oral Fatwa’ to ISIS members authorising them to “kill newborn babies with Down’s Syndrome and congenital deformities and disabled children”. Mosul Eye further reported that more than thirty-right children born with deformities and Down’s syndrome, aged between one week and three months, had already been murdered by ISIS militants either by lethal injection or suffocation.

Immediately parallels were drawn, as had been on previous occasions after similar ISIS atrocities, with Nazi Germany. From 1939, in their ‘T4’ Euthanasia programme, the Nazi regime organised the murder of at least five thousand severely mentally and physically handicapped children and young people up to sixteen years old in over thirty so-called ‘special children’s wards’. Unlike ISIS, the Nazis veiled their eugenics as ostensibly compassionate. Parental petitions asking for their disabled children to be given “mercy killings” were used as justification and to show demand in the German population. When Hitler agreed to these actions, he made the head of his personal secretariat and his own personal physician “euthanasia commissioners”. ISIS have no such sentimental pretensions.

Around half a week later, another sickening story appeared in the media that twenty-two year old Kevin Wilson had been found guilty of the crime of ‘Child Destruction’ – the killing of an unborn baby between twenty-eight weeks gestation and birth – for having killed his unborn child. He had committed this by assaulting his ex-girlfriend (whom he had tried to pressure into an ‪abortion‬), stamping on her stomach. The mother was at thirty-two weeks when the attack occurred, and the story includes her account of the acute loss she feels, still in mourning for her stillborn baby.

Soon after the reports of both these brutal atrocities, however, came two other reports that should lead us to question the consistency of our right social outcry against them.

The day after ISIS’s horrifying barbarity was printed in the British media, another story was reported of a fifteen year old girl who had been accused of killing her own baby shortly after giving birth. The Police had said that they were called to a house in Burnage, south Manchester, during the early hours of the eleventh of February last year and consequently charged the teenager (who is anonymous for legal reasons) with concealment of birth, infanticide, and manslaughter. The girl was granted unconditional bail at Manchester Youth Court, and was due to appear at Manchester Crown Court on the twenty-third of December.

Meanwhile, on the same say that the Wilson verdict was declared, another disturbing case of Child Destruction, this time by a mother at thirty-two to thirty-four weeks was accounted. Natalie Towers, a woman in County Durham, had taken contraction-inducing drugs in order to miscarry her unborn son, who consequently died of oxygen starvation. Whether or not the sentence is appropriate (the article suggests that Towers may have mental health issues), it is worth noticing the disparity between the humane approach taken to the unborn baby by the medical staff who tried desperately to save him and posthumously named him ‘Luke’, as well as the Telegraph article’s use of terms that recognise the humanity of the child – referring to “unborn son”, and “baby” three times – and the dehumanising language of the Judge, who referred in his judgement to “unborn foetuses” and inaccurately talked about her offence “extinguishing life about to begin”. This, even though he found her guilty of the destruction of a child (not a mere ‘foetus’ that is an ‘almost-life’).

All four stories have rightly brought shock and appalment to most Britons who read them. Yet they should not simply generate moral outrage, but introspection.

After all, everyone rightly condemns the unspeakable evil of ISIS, yet section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 allows the destruction of disabled unborn babies, including those with minor rectifiable cosmetic disabilities such as a cleft palate or a club foot. We also have a medical system that, in failing to support parents whose unborn baby is diagnosed with foetal disability, and in commonly blithely assuming that parents will want an abortion after such a diagnosis, encourages such destruction to happen. This has led to 90% of Down’s Syndrome babies being aborted every year. The informal material eugenics of our own culture can scarcely be thought of as more civilised then, than that of the evil practitioners of terror in the Middle East.

Similarly, our society is quite properly angered at the wickedness of the Manchester teenager having murdered her baby after birth, the thug who stamped his own unborn child to death, and the County Durham mother who poisoned her son in the womb. Yet since 1990, when the Abortion Act was ‘de-coupled’ from (that is, unlimited by) the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929, the law that prohibits ‘Child Destruction’, this protection does not affect abortions for foetal disability, which may take place up to birth.

If any of the three mothers in these cases had a disabled baby, or had it been judged that an abortion was “necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to [their] physical or mental health”, or that “the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to [their] life” greater than if the pregnancy were ended, then they would have been able to have their unborn babies killed through late-term abortions only a matter of minutes or hours before birth. The location of the baby within simply a few minutes, and the person making the ‘choice’ to end their baby’s life, is all that makes the social and legal difference between acceptance and censure.

Even though at such a late stage foeticide (as opposed to live delivery) would have been utterly unnecessary from a medical perspective, such abortions would have been perfectly legally acceptable, albeit seen as personally ‘difficult’ decisions.

All this illustrates, quite starkly, that our laws and social attitudes to abortion are grossly hypocritical and hopelessly inconsistent towards the humanity of the unborn child. This is particularly true when she possesses a disability, when a callously discriminatory approach is implemented.

The right-to-life movement has a lot of work to do in educating public opinion sufficiently, such that society recognises its own organised hypocrisy towards unborn humanity and leads the political consensus to rectify this, by affirming the dignity and rights of all human children before as well as after birth.

Amnesty’s Travesty of Ireland and Maternal Mortality (‘Amnesty’s Travesty Of Human Rights’, Part V)

by Peter D. Williams

This week, we have seen that Amnesty International (AI) has ignored the fact of the humanity of the unborn child, and their right to life as human beings. Instead, they have chosen to campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion based on a false understanding of how abortion relates to maternal health and life, and following the international abortion lobby’s abusive exploitation of the tragic or difficult cases of individual women to achieve their inhumane ends. Perhaps the most egregious example of their inhumane efforts however, is where they have most recently and particularly tried to end protections for unborn children in Ireland.

In a recent amplification of their ‘My Body, My Choice’ campaign, which includes a focus on abortion, AI’s Ireland branch launched a propaganda video for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which protects the right to life of unborn children. To a black-and-white backdrop of a ruined rural church and graveyard, and with the voiceover of actor Liam Neeson, the video claims that Ireland is ‘haunted’ by a ‘ghost of its past’. This ‘ghost’, they allege, lies in a law “written for a different time” which brings “death and suffering” to Irish women.

Accompanying this as if in illustration, Amnesty Ireland put another video online featuring celebrity comedian Graham Linehan (the writer of the popular cult TV show, ‘Father Ted’) and his wife, in which they give their account of how they conceived a child with anencephaly (where the child has developed without a brain, and would not survive after childbirth). This prompted them to have an abortion in the UK, where they live. The fact that this would not have been an option in Ireland is something they find abhorrent, and so they have talked about their tragic case in order to put moral pressure on Ireland to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The Linehans’ tragic and difficult situation is, of course, an especially hard case. One can only imagine how genuinely harrowing it would be to go through a pregnancy only to have your child die when born. Yet the emotional trauma of such rare cases, similar to that of miscarriage or stillbirth, does not change the fact that the unborn are human beings with inherent dignity who are worth of protection. To allow the killing of one human being because it serves the emotional interests of another, would be to render the absolute principle of the right to life of innocent human beings something so contingent as to be practically useless.

Only if certain rights are inviolable can they work to protect all vulnerable people, and only if we gloss over that fact can we allow our emotions in sympathising with the Linehans – as any decent person would – to overcome what our reason tells us about the necessity of integrity in applying rights protections. Yet surely Amnesty agree with on this point, for their appeal to the Linehans’ case contradicts their official position of wanting abortion decriminalised only for hard cases. What relevance would the sad situation of Graham Linehan and his wife have to their aims if all they were asking for were the availability of abortion for conception after rape, and a threat to the mother’s health and life?

To what else, then, could Amnesty Ireland be referring when it mentions the “death and suffering” of women? It could well be the case of Dr. Savita Halappanavar, which as we saw was cynically exploited by the Irish abortion lobby in such a way as to make a travesty of the facts of her condition. It could also be the purported need for legal abortion to meet the healthcare needs of women, which as we noted is based on a series of misunderstandings of maternal-fetal ‘vital conflicts’ and how problems like ectopic pregnancy can be treated in a system that affirms the rights of the unborn.

More generally, however, the appeal to the “death and suffering of women” in abortion advocacy applies to the consequence of illegal abortion. As Amnesty claimed when they changed their policy in 2007:

“The lack of safe, legal abortion services is recognised as one of the leading causes of preventable maternal death worldwide. The Millennium Development Goals include a goal aimed at the reduction of maternal mortality as key to the eradication of extreme poverty. According to the Millennium Project, over half a million women die every year due to pregnancy related reasons. Some 70,000 of those deaths are attributable to unsafe abortions. The human rights treaty bodies have repeatedly addressed unsafe abortion as a right to life concern”.

This argument is one of the most hackneyed and false in the abortion lobby’s arsenal. For one thing, studies have confirmed that prohibiting abortion does not lead to an increase in maternal mortality rates (the statistical means by which deaths from illegal abortions are measured). A 2012 study undertaken on behalf of the Chilean Maternal Mortality Research Initiative (CMMRI), Women’s Education Level, Maternal Health Facilities, Abortion Legislation and Maternal Deaths: A Natural Experiment in Chile from 1957 to 2007, analysed 50 years of maternal mortality data (1957-2007) from Chile’s National Institute of Statistics, and found that since Chile enacted a law protecting the right to life of unborn children in 1989, the maternal mortality rate had dropped by 70%. This was a continuance of a decline in the overall Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Chile of 93.8% between 1957 and 2007. The study found that maternal education and quality of health care affected a decline in maternal mortality, not abortion availability.

Similarly, according to the latest WHO statistics on maternal mortality (see Annex 19. Trends in estimates of maternal mortality ratio (MMR, maternal deaths per 100 000 live births), by country, 1990–2015, pp. 92-98), countries with strong right-to-life protections for unborn children, such as Nicaragua, El Salvador, Poland, Chile, and indeed Ireland, have all seen falls in their maternal mortality rates since 1995, and compare favourably to their neighbours in the same region. Meanwhile, countries with little to no such protections compare less favourably with regards to maternal mortality than their neighbours with better protections. Compare, for example, the relatively lower maternal mortality rate 30 per 100,000 in Sri Lanka (which has profound restrictions on abortion), compared with the 258 deaths per 100,000 births in Nepal, which has one of the de facto most permissive abortion systems in the world.

The same is true within states as well as between them. An American study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy in 2012, which conducted in 23 states by researchers from Stanford University, showed that less permissive legislation was associated to lower rates of complications due to abortion. Meanwhile, a study published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year comparing the maternal mortality of 18 Mexican states with less permissive abortion legislation and 14 states with a more permissive law, found that between 2002-2011 those with the more restrictive law typically had lower maternal mortalities than those that had fewer protections for unborn children.

The converse of all this is that making abortion legal does not necessarily reduce maternal mortality, as a WHO editorial made clear last year when it admitted that “illegal abortion is not synonymous with unsafe abortion”, conceding that its historical measure of ‘safe’ abortion – legality – simply was not sound. What actually makes a difference, as the studies above also demonstrate, are the quality of general maternal healthcare and emergency obstetric care, as well as basic qualities such as female education and literacy, clean water and sanitation, and lower levels of domestic violence.

What is the relevance of all this to Amnesty’s Irish campaign? Simply that what we learn from the world more largely applies very particularly to Ireland. Studies have repeatedly shown that when we compare the over more than 40 years of legal elective abortion in the UK to relatively abortion-free Ireland and Northern Ireland, both Irish jurisdictions show more favourable data on maternal and neonatal health than the British. Whilst there have been some reports suggesting that Irish rates approach British levels, this has not been attributed to botched illegal abortions, but mostly to pre-existent conditions in the women, or ‘coincidental causes’. Other studies have suggested that this is due to increasing Caesarean section rates in Ireland.

Regardless, what we can certainly say is that, contrary to what Amnesty have suggested, there is not a shred of serious evidence that Ireland’s constitutional protection of unborn children brings ‘death’ to Irish women. International and Irish evidence points to countries that have laws safeguarding babies in the womb from being destroyed in abortion have better maternal mortality rates, and those mortalities that exist are better dealt with by improved medical care for mother and child, education, and basic sanitary conditions. Not abortion.

We see then, that these arguments fail to justify even the decriminalisation aims of Amnesty. Yet this does not seem to be their ultimate argument. Their campaign to repeal the Irish Eighth Amendment is called ‘My Body, My Rights’, a phrase that communicates precisely the idea of a ‘right to abortion’ they claim not to assert, rather than a mere insistence on allowing abortions in extreme situations.

This is the ultimate Amnesty Travesty: their ostensible moderation for only wanting abortion under certain very rare circumstances seems to be a fig-leaf for the fact that they have given themselves over to a pro-abortion agenda that entirely contradicts their basic human rights philosophy. Until Amnesty turns back to the ethic of human dignity that should form the basis for their entire moral enterprise, recognise the humanity and right to life of unborn children, and advocate instead for the humane alternatives to abortion that truly safeguard the health and life women and their babies, it will have failed to truly fulfil its mission to ‘protect the human’.


This post is part of the ‘Amnesty’s Travesty of Human Rights’ series, and is cross-posted on the Blog of the Life website as part of our joint #AmnestyTravesty campaign. Please go to www.shamnesty.org and sign the petition!

Amnesty’s Travesty of the Savita Tragedy (‘Amnesty’s Travesty Of Human Rights’, Part IV)

by Peter D. Williams

We saw yesterday that Amnesty International (AI), following the example of the international abortion lobby, has used false arguments about women’s health to justify their campaign for the decriminalisation of abortion worldwide. Specifically, they abused the ‘Beatriz’ case in El Salvador to illustrate the supposed need for legalised abortion in order to save women’s life and health. As fallacious as this was, it is mirrored in an even higher profile case that has already been raised as a great cause célèbre for removing protections for unborn children in Ireland.

On the 21st of October 2012, an Indian dentist who was working in Ireland, Dr. Savita Halappanavar, presented at Galway University complaining of back pain. She was advised physiotherapy and sent home, but returned a few hours later complaining of a “dragging sensation” in her body. The next day, her waters broke. Given a scan, which heartbreakingly showed a fetal heartbeat, it was prognosed that she would inevitably miscarry, and she was informed of this. Warned of a risk of infection, she was given antibiotics.

On the 23rd, Dr. Halappanavar asked her consultant, Dr. Katherine Astbury, for a ‘termination of pregnancy’. That is to say, she wanted her baby (whom she knew had a poor prognosis) to be removed from her, and so the miscarriage that would have been causing her so much distress, to be brought to a quick conclusion. Dr. Astbury allegedly replied to her that “in this country it is not legal to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of poor prognosis for a foetus”, and that since a fetal heartbeat was present and her life not at risk, it was not legally possible to carry out a termination. Dr. Halappanavar was upset by this, but allegedly also told by the Midwife Manager that a termination could not be carried out because Ireland is “a Catholic country”.

Over the next five days, the worst happened. On the 25th, she started to shake with cold, went into toxic shock, and died at 1:09am on the 28th.

Her death became a major news story because her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, who had been with her at the hospital, reported her denied request for a termination and the alleged reasons given for such a denial. Abortion lobbyists seized the opportunity to make a connection between this refusal and her death, asserting the one caused the other, and that if only abortion were legal and accepted, Dr. Halappanavar would still be alive.

Partly in response to the outrage caused by media reporting of the case, a year later the Irish Oireachtas (Parliament) passed the ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013’, which codified into law the legality of abortion where pregnancy is said to endanger a woman’s life, including through risk of suicide.

Despite all this, an appreciation of the evidence (from the subsequent inquest, panel findings, and report) shows the death of Savita Halappanavar was in no way due to her being refused abortion.

As we noted on the last post, it is debated amongst bioethicists whether ‘terminating pregnancy’ by removing a baby from the womb prior to viability is the same ethical situation as abortion, but crucially such a procedure is allowed by the Irish system in emergency situations. As section 21.2 of the Irish Medical Council’s Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners states:

“During pregnancy, rare complications can arise where a therapeutic intervention is required which may result in there being little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.”

In any case, Savita was not apparently asking for this because she thought it would save her life. Rather, she wanted to expedite the tragedy of her miscarriage. Similarly, in denying this, the staff were not putting a moral and legal injunction above saving her life, but simply following normal medical protocol, by which an abortion would have been seen as an unnecessary surgical procedure, especially since it was believed that her child had a small but significant chance of survival, and such an intervention would have carried its own risks.

What the evidence actually shows is that Savita died from a progressively worsening sepsis, which came from E.coli bacterial infection that entered her bloodstream from her urinary tract, and was antibiotic resistant. Whilst it is not clear that she could have survived this, the inquest ruled that ‘medical misadventure’ (failure to look at blood tests, and to recognise, monitor, and manage her infection/sepsis) took place. In no way has unavailability of abortion been identified as the cause of her death. Indeed, as Dr. Hema Divakar (President of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of Dr. Halappanavar’s native India) stated regarding her assessment of the situation:

“Delay or refusal to terminate the pregnancy does not in itself seem to be the cause of death. Even if the law permitted it, it is not as if her life would have been saved because of termination… Severe septicaemia with disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a life-threatening bleeding disorder which is a complication of sepsis, major organ damage and loss of the mother’s blood due to severe infection, is the cause of death in Savita’s case. This is what seems to have happened and this is a sequence which cannot be reversed just by terminating the pregnancy.”

The bottom line is that the reason why Savita Halappanavar died was because she was given insufficient care by the medical professionals who were looking after her. At no point would an abortion have saved her life. Yet the abortion lobby chose, combining ignorance with cynical opportunism, to abuse her story to their own inhuman ends. This effort continues even now, after the full evidence has been made public.

One of the more disgraceful tactics of the abortion lobby around the world is to take difficult or even tragic cases of women who suffer difficulties in pregnancy, and exploit them to their own ideological ends. Amnesty International did not start this particular example, but it is one that their supporters are willing to lazily (if not dishonestly) repeat in order to achieve their goals. It is a falsehood that needs to be firmly and consistently corrected.


This post is part of the ‘Amnesty’s Travesty of Human Rights’ series, and is cross-posted on the Blog of the Life website as part of our joint #AmnestyTravesty campaign. Please go to www.shamnesty.org and sign the petition!