Monday, 26 November 2012

Savita, abortion, and xenophobia

You will be aware of Savita Halappanavar? The woman who died having spent three-and-a-half agonising days with a miscarried foetus that University Hospital Galway doctors would not induce a termination on because it, however unviable, "had a heartbeat".

There has been considerable debate in Ireland since.

Mind you, "debate" is a very middle-class term in itself. 

 It is very easy to "debate" something that does not, or might never, affect you in the course of your life. "Debates" are usually about others.

It is nice to see, however, that successive Irish governments' inaction since the X-case on abortion rights has been called into question, and there have been demonstrations outside the Irish parliament on the issue. Good, and not before time.

It is sad, however, that it has taken this matter to provoke a belated "debate" on abortion rights in Ireland.   
Interesting too, are the many xenophobic interpretations surrounding the issue.  

There was a letter in the Irish Independent during the week, admonishing Savita's husband for his temerity in questioning Ireland and its institutions. Bloody foreigners, eh? How dare they do something that Irish people, institutionally incapable of criticising their elite's nation state, will never do?

I even spoke to a neighbour of mine - a lovely old dear who you couldn't otherwise fault - who opined that people who had such criticisms of Ireland should stay in their own countries. Her daughter and son-in-law, by the way, send their children to a Gaelscoil because (by their admission) they feel they will be less likely to share a classroom with "blacks and foreigners".

That was the term used. Though I don't know what their opinions might have been on the likes of Paul McGrath or Phil Lynnott. The former quotation-marked improper nouns not  being necessarily mutually inclusive.

"If yer not with us, yer against us", it seems.

However  it might be defined.


between-the-lines said...

Yes, interesting how this has brought out so much racist underbelly in Eire, as appears from comments I've seen, eg here:

A bitter irony is that had Mrs Halappanavar been native Irish she would most likely still be alive today because she would have known to do what Irish women do, I gather, which is to go to Northern Ireland to get the life-saving treatment needed.

So much hypocrisy does not seem healthy.

The Gombeen Man said...

No it doesn't, Between-the-lines, not healthy at all.

Thanks for the comment and the link.

Pete said...

Abortion is the last control mechanism held by the ruling class in Ireland. The wealthy always had access to abortion,the poor was left with infanticide as there option.

Anonymous said...

Which letter from the Indo are you referring to GM ? Is it on their website?

The Gombeen Man said...

@Pete. Think the buggers still have a few mechanisms left in their armoury. Unfortunately.

@Anon. I'm not sure if it was a Sindo or a daily Indo, but deffo one of them. Think I saw it in a copy of the paper while in MacDoe's Maynooth.

DC3 said...

It's not the innate hypocracy GM, it is, the Sadistic pleasure, the Irish get from their own powerlessness which is a wonder to behold. Third world with a twist...All low level and subversive until a Mr Halappanavar comes along and says STOP. That's the part they don't like.

Don't fool your self, the Irish Middle Class are equivalent to the Working or Under Class in any other nation. Corporate Serfs. Again, the wonderment is, they actually like it. It really is something to behold.

Ouh soooh tricky.

stanchaz said...

There are so many priests, preachers, and assorted shamans out there -"men of the cloth"- who have the unmitigated gall, the sheer arrogance, of claiming to speak for God, and with God. And we...must listen. Or so they say. It's gotten so bad that they think THEY A-R-E GOD- with THE RIGHT TO TAKE WOMEN"S LIVES!
They claim a direct pipeline to the Almighty! God did this, God told me. God loves that, God hates this. God wants this. Another coin the the basket please. Hey, like .... We've had ENOUGH already! I say to them :Go back to whatever burrow you came from, you charlatans, and leave us -and our country- alone.
For we're a free and proud people, and will remain so - without your shameful meddling, in both our private lives and our public institutions.