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  • Photo credit: The Irish Times
    By Jerry Coyne
    Most of you probably remember the tragic and preventable death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year old dentist who died in Ireland in 2012, killed by the policies of […]

    • I am mightily suspicious of any hospital that defines itself by its religious assumptions rather than medical practice. I’d love to think that a Roman Catholic Hospital was one that wishes to cure patients of catholicism, rather like a cancer hospital tries to cure patients of cancer.
      Let the only involvement of religion in health care be strictly limited to something harmless (on the Hippocratic Principle), like prayer.

    • @OP – It wasn’t until a year later that it became legal in Ireland to abort a fetus to save the mother’s life!

      Only after the public disgrace of needless suffering and death, with the media holding them accountable, do the backward theists, get dragged kicking and screaming, inch by inch, into the modern world!

      This is insupportable. As the Guardian reports at the link above, **five different women had their lives endangered in a year and a half by Mercy’s refusal to terminate their pregnancies. In all five cases, the babies died*. The religious directives governing such cases are ambiguous, and it looks as if Catholic health workers simply make judgement calls.

      This once again, shows the brain-addled incompatibility of the delusional dogmas of theology, with scientific and medical training to provide compassionate modern medical services based on the welfare of the patients.

      The religious directives governing such cases are ambiguous, and it looks as if Catholic health workers simply make judgement calls.

      What the Hell have “religious directives”, got to do with governing decisions in medical cases? Medical staff are supposed to act in the best interests of the patients! (Not their delusional priests and perverted gods!).

      In civilised states, such establishments would be closed down as unfit to practice medicine!

    • If a woman has started to miscarry isn’t that God’s decision? If God decides a miscarriage is necessary to save the woman’s life, doesn’t that mean the Catholic Church is now opposing God’s will by denying treatment?

      The Hippocratic Oath states: “First do no harm”, aren’t doctors violating that oath by deliberately delaying treatment? I have to wonder what sort of medical professionals would choose to work in a hospital where medical best practice and the needs of the patient are over-ruled by religious dogma

    • We have a similar problem here in Canada with Catholic hospitals refusing physician assisted suicide to those in protracted intractable pain. Religious crazies should not have a veto over non-Christian health care. They should care only for Catholics. Their funding should be withdrawn if they don’t shape up or they should be expropriated.

    • In Ireland, the RCC still do not recognise that Savita’s death was caused the failure to grant her an abortion in the early stages of her illness. There were shortcomings in the nursing and medical treatment which she received and these lead to her death; but the fact remains that if she had been given an abortion when it was clear that the pregnancy was no longer viable and she requested the procedure, she would still be alive today.

      No amount of RC spin can change the fact that a dangerous situation, the unchecked progress of a naturally occurring abortion, was allowed to continue due to legal constraints forbidding the removal of a still “living” (heart beating) foetus. Even following the change in the law here, it is still not by any means certain that in the same situation today an abortion would be permitted, as you’d have to prove that the mother’s life was in danger, and it might not be easy to prove that, unless she actually did die. And, as it is reported, there “is always someone looking over your shoulder,” presumably spies from the various RC front organisations which have infiltrated the medical services in this country.

    • In the state of Washington, more than 50% of all hospitals are now owned and operated by religious organizations, mostly Catholic. In the county where I live, the only hospital accessible to the public (there is a Naval hospital that serves only Navy personnel and their dependents) is now owned by the Franciscans. The only non-Catholic hospitals in the entire region are across Puget Sound in Seattle, (Harborview/University of Washington Medical Center), a long drive and a long ferry ride away, unless you are seriously injured or ill enough to warrant an incredibly expensive airlift. This means that I, and everyone else in my county, are forced to subsidize the Catholic church whenever we need urgent or hospital care, and are forced to abide by their “ethical” directives. As a nurse, I’ve been protesting this for years. Our governor placed a temporary injunction on new hospital acquisitions by religious organizations a couple of years ago after some high-profile malpractice cases similar to those in Michigan, but this has had no impact on the existing problem.

      In my opinion, monopolizing healthcare is nothing more than a way for the religious to do an end run around our state and Federal laws. It’s much easier and cheaper to force their beliefs about contraception, abortion, end-of-life issues, and gay or trans people on patients than it is to try to overturn constitutional rights or pass legislation. In essence, the Catholic church is allowed to ignore the fact that contraception, abortion, death with dignity, and same-sex marriage are all legal in our state, and deny these services and recognition to people who have nowhere else to go. If religiously-owned healthcare organizations cannot abide by state and federal law, they should have their accreditation stripped and be forced out of business. Healthcare access is a basic human right for people of every religion, race, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, and economic status. For the same reasons that church and government must be separate to ensure fairness to all, churches should never be involved in providing healthcare.

    • @sue-blue

      I wish there was a LIKE button. Monopolize the hospitals!! Gives you power. Well said.

    • Oh how the RCC loves to strangle thought and fuck people’s lives up. I’m surprised the Americans put up with this shit. Wasn’t 1776 about ending “tyranny” ?

    • Mr DArcy

      The Catholic church has suffered a severe ass kick here due to their international pedophile scandal. We are fighting their interference in reproductive rights and in the death with dignity movement in the courts and legislature but their pockets are deep and their minions are brainwashed zombies who keep coming at us time after time. I see a tipping point on the horizon though. Glass-half-full as usual. 🙂