August: Dog Days of Summer

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Outrage Fatigue

As a friend of mine said on a Facebook reply tonight, "I have outrage fatigue." One of my closest friends came over last night with her kids- she and I started talking about this blog, and some of the posts I've been publishing. The conversation evolved into a very intense discussion about abortion, women's health, and the latest travesty of justice regarding Ireland's recent lapse of judgement concerning their stance on abortion. Her son came into the room and gleefully asked if they could have a sleep-over. Having had a glass of wine already (she's not used to drinking at all anymore- I'm such a bad influence), she and I both said, "sure, why not." When her son then said, "right now?" we both, once again, said "sure- why not!" We put the kids to bed, set up the bed in the studio for her and the baby, and commenced to pouring ourselves some more wine. (Hence, no post last night- sorry!)
She continued to tell me the story of Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old woman from India, living and working in Ireland with her husband. She was 17 weeks pregnant, a very wanted pregnancy, when she started to miscarry. She was admitted to the hospital with ruptured membranes, great pain, and a dieing fetus. Because of  Ireland's lack of any legislature or policy regarding abortion separate from that of the Catholic church, they remain a country where abortion is illegal. Savita and her husband were told that indeed, she would lose the baby. When they begged for termination, or even induction to help the inevitable loss, they were told, "this is a Catholic country" and that there was nothing that could (or would) be done as long as there was still a fetal heartbeat. When they told the hospital that they were neither Catholic nor Irish naturals, they were simply given the same "we can't do anything" rhetoric. I hope I'm hearing some palms being smacked on foreheads right now.
It took THREE DAYS for the baby to die. In that time, Savita's health declined as she developed septicemia. After the baby died, it was removed surgically, and she slipped into a coma and died 4 days later. More foreheads being smacked? I hope so.
Now my friend, being from Ireland, while being appropriately outraged and disgusted, is also completely disappointed and saddened by her own country's lack of rational judgement, and lack of governmental policy concerning abortion. There was a case in the court system in 1992 involving a 14 year old girl who was raped by her neighbor, and wanted an abortion. It was known as the case of  "X" as the girl's name was never made public. She and her family successfully sued the government, with the girl threatening to commit suicide. Since then no incumbent government has been able to implement any real policy that honors exceptional cases, and accepts life-threatening circumstances as grounds for a legalized abortion. Instead, innocent healthy women are at risk of being killed by a government that operates under legislation established in 1861.
I don't mean to get political. Nor do I wish to bash Ireland. But I am outraged.
And why all this talk about abortion? "I thought this was supposed to be a blog about infertility!?"
Well- because, 1. It's a women's health issue- as is infertility. 2. It hits close to home for me, (have you read My Story- parts 1 and 2?)
My friend (I'll call her T) and I were talking about the "My Story" posts I've published, and about how there seemed to be a recurring theme of the lack of respect, and abusive ill-treatment towards me both times I was faced with this issue. In both instances for me, there was a certain doctor who, for whatever reason, decided that perhaps their own personal views on the matter took precedence over their treatment of me. I fear this is a more common phenomena than people know or talk about. If I have been so medically mistreated, I cannot even imagine how women are being treated who come to the issue from other avenues or other countries. What has happened to women's health? Has it always held so little regard for the lives of women!? There is a Jewish law concerning this very thing, and it says, basically, that the precedence is to save the ESTABLISHED life. So Savita died because her already doomed fetus still had a heartbeat (no brain function or chance of survival in any way). I do NOT understand this thinking. So it's OK for mothers to die, but G-D forbid that non-viable fetus be harmed!? WTF!?
OK- I know it's not so black and white, and I know that it's such a huge and complicated issue. I get that. I really do. It's a huge and complicated issue for me and my own viewpoint, and I went through an abortion and an attempt at a second. It's this very set of experiences for me, though, that resonates with my entire history of infertility. Because I will forever be suspicious of that first abortion and second attempted one having somehow caused my infertility. I'm outraged. On so many levels. And I'm tired from the outrage. I have outrage fatigue.
Sleep peacefully, dear Savita- I hope you go somewhere where you are surrounded by loving children, and I hope your death was not in vain.

No comments:

Post a Comment