HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Worst Kind of Cautionary Tale

Viral today: a woman living in Ireland died due to physicians' refusal to abort a non-viable fetus.  See reporting here: and here:

To be clear, Dr. Halappanavar was not living in a third world country without access to medical care; she was not at home; she was in the hospital being monitored and seeking help when she died.  She was told that she was living in a Catholic country and could not be helped so long as the fetal heartbeat was detectable.

Not only was this death unjust and unnecessary, the patient's treatment was retrograde and barbaric.  In light of candidates' recent remarks regarding access to abortion, as if pregnancy and childbirth were not medical concerns, this tragedy serves as the worst kind of cautionary tale: women die when this basic and safe medical procedure is unavailable.


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