Irish girl suicidal from unwanted pregnancy; doctors confine her in mental health unit instead of performing abortion

The abortion laws of Ireland are a travesty: you still can’t get one in that country unless the mother’s life is in danger—from either health risks or possible suicide—or the fetus has fatal abnormalities. This draconian policy has led to horrible outcomes, the most notable being the death of Savita Halappanavar in 2012 from sepsis after doctors wouldn’t let her abort her fetus, although they were sure it would miscarry, because it still had a heartbeat. Mother and fetus succumbed, but how was that a good outcome? Only for Catholics, I suppose.

These laws need to be changed, and it’s the damn Catholic Church and the cowardly Irish politicians who won’t do what is right, even though most Irish people favor liberalized abortion laws.

The latest case, reported by The Irish Times, involves a “young girl” (age not given) who was pregnant and had strong views about why she could not bear the child, ultimately becoming suicidal. That was agreed on by two psychiatrists (the assent of two is required to approve a legal abortion), but one psychiatrist said the case could be “managed by treatment” (for her mental disorder), and the other, while saying she was depressed, said there was “no evidence of a psychological disorder.” (What the hell is depression, anyway?)

The girl was moved to Dublin, thinking she was going to get an abortion, but instead was slapped inside a mental health unit. She was ultimately released by court order, but there are no good grounds for preventing her from getting an abortion—even under Irish law. I’m betting these psychiatrists were Catholics. Meanwhile, she’s still at risk of suicide.

This reminds one of the notorious 1992 “X case,” in which a 14 year old girl—the victim of serial sexual abuse from her uncle—discovered she was pregnant. Her parents informed police, hoping that DNA evidence could be obtained from the fetus that would implicate the rapist. The police passed this onto the Attorney General, who obtained an interim injunction stopping the teenager and her parents from leaving the country or terminating the pregnancy. (The child and her parents had already gone to England for an abortion, but returned before it was performed lest they face criminal charges on returning to Ireland).  In spite of the girl becoming severely suicidal, the judge hearing the case decided that she should be restrained from leaving the country for 9 months. This was overturned on Appeal, but the girl suffered a miscarriage before the termination was carried out.

One good outcome of the “X” case is that traveling outside Ireland to seek an abortion became decriminalized. But you still can’t get an abortion unless there’s a health risk to the mother or the fetus is doomed.

h/t: Grania



  1. Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    In Northern Ireland, you can’t get an abortion *even if* the fetus is doomed. Thanks to an alliance bertween the Catholics, and the people that Theresa May now relies on for her majority

  2. BJ
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Ireland is, as far as I know, the most regressive country regarding abortion when it comes to first world democracies. And we all know why (the word starts with an “R,” or a “C” if you want to be specific).

    • rickflick
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      If you drive through the Irish countryside you get an understanding of why the Church still holds sway. The roadsides are dotted with an unending line of ruins of small stone churches. For generations people have had no other reality. The outside world would have had no influence. It’s understandable that it would take another generation or two to remove the yoke. Eventually freedom will come.

  3. koseighty
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink


  4. Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    What the hell is depression, anyway?

    You’ll know it if you’ve had it. What it’s isn’t, is just feeling sad.

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      That was a rhetorical question: depression is considered a mental or psychological disorder according to the DSM.

  5. Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    My family is from Northern Ireland, not the Republic, but that whole island has been fucked over by religion.

    With the DUP now having leverage in the UK Parliament we can expect a RC revival in the North too as both sides retrench.

    • Tom
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      The mainland MP’s in Westminster are exceedingly jealous of what they see as their prerogative to Govern the mainland and will regard any regressive DUP demands for changes as a cause to force another General Election. Could the DUP really afford the risk of fighting another Election when its protestant majority in Ulster is in such decline?

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    It seems morally self-evident to me that if a girl or woman is a victim of rape or incest, they are entitled to an abortion- no questions asked.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      It should not even be a moral issue. It should simply be the right of the woman.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Those who would disagree with you believe that a fetus is ontologically equivalent to a postpartum human being. That’s the only basis I know of, and I’m vehemently opposed to it.

      If you accept the premise, then performing an abortion on a rape or incest victim is self-evidently the same as murdering a child. I find the claim fatuous, but there it is.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes well, some believe it is a human as soon as the sperm hits the egg. From a legal standpoint where do we stand? Opinion does not count much in court does it?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          Nah. One is a “person” for Constitutional purposes only following birth, although the Supreme Court has held that society’s interests in the potential life of a fetus permits restrictions on abortion later in a woman’s pregnancy.

          That would all change, of course, if the right-to-life movement were to succeed in its ultimate goal of amending the constitution to provide for the “personhood” of the unborn. If that happens, abortion will be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. And any illegal abortion necessarily would have to be prosecuted and punished as “murder.”

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          As lampooned by M. Python

          {Apologies for introducing levity into sucha tragic subject)


  7. Randy schenck
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I must say that in the U.S. in several states, we are not so far from looking like Ireland. It’s a pathetic march back to the stone age and the republican party is right at the forefront of this march. Religion is central reason for this here as well. The courts and the church have no business in this matter and should be ejected from it. I should say the govt. as well.

  8. Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Texas will be almost that bad soon, at the rate we’re going. Theoretically, abortion is legal throughout the United States; but the Texas governor and legislature are doing everything possible to prevent them. In the last year or so, about half of all abortion providers have been forced out of business. Now they’ve passed a law requiring women to either bury or cremate their aborted fetuses. Here it’s mostly Baptists, combined with a few other evangelical Christians. Catholics are the minority here.

  9. bethanyk
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Horrific treatment of females

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Another shanda fur di goyim for those of us who retain an atavistic cultural connection (albeit no doctrinal connection whatever) to Catholicism.

  11. Monika
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Lovely… now sing with me: “Every sperm is sacred…”

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      If a male happens to ejaculate outside of a vagina, he is obliged to bury or cremate every one of his sperm cells.
      Oops, and I forgot: no research on sperm cells!

      • rickflick
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Which reminds me of images in the very early days of sperm with tiny humunculi curled up inside. I wonder if that isn’t the intellectual foundation of Catholic notions of tiny sacred souls, and the personhood argument of fertilized eggs. They imagine the little guy wakes up once united with his egg and gives a little wave like the queen.

  12. Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


  13. Larry Cook
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Despite its terrible record, the Catholic church is convinced that it is the Authority on all things sexual. When I was in 9th grade my high school decided that one day all freshmen would go to confession during that school day. My homeroom and first period Religion teacher, Father O’Keefe, spent the first hour and a half that day lecturing my class that masturbation was a mortal sin (mortal sins are automatic hell for eternity unless confessed) and thus must be confessed. It was an awful and uncomfortable thing to sit through. Out of fear I followed his advice. The priest in the temporary confessional set up in a hallway was certainly able to recognize me. He asked me one mortifying question after another, like “How long have you had this problem, son?”. As I walked away I vowed to never walk into a confessional again in my life and I haven’t. About 20 years later the head of the Religion Department when I was a student along with another priest from that department were convicted of molesting a number of boys during their tenure. They are the same type of sanctimonious bastards who are responsible for Ireland’s revolting abortion laws.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      In my parochial grade school, we had that talk in 7th grade; it was, shall we say, awkward.

      We were made to understand the difference between the venial sin of simply playing with ourselves (which, as far as I could tell, was just a baroque form of scratching-and-itching) and the mortal sin of rubbing one out until quietus.

      I felt so guilty, it was days before I could indulge in self-abuse again. 🙂

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Wow, who do I thank for being a life long atheist…I guess that would be me.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          I left the Church a couple weeks shy of my 15th birthday — and soon learned to self-gratify without fear or favor. 🙂

  14. Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Behind all of the Catholic policies on abortion is the premise that a fetus is a human being from conception and therefore has the same rights as other human beings. Based on that premise, the proposition that abortions should not be allowed unless the mother’s health or life is threatened is entirely reasonable, as opposed to being “draconian” or “a travesty.” If one disagrees with the policies, one is obliged, seems to me, to discredit the premise, not simply rant against its application. Starting from the assumption that the question of fetus rights has been settled, when in fact it clearly hasn’t, is not an honest approach to this issue.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The Catholic belief is because they believe a soul is assigned at conception. They force that belief on others. The woman from India who died pregnant, for example, did not believe that but still had to adhere to the rules of another religion.

      Religion (and not just Irish Catholicism) destroys the lives of more people every day, especially women, than DAESH manages to murder. Both are religious terrorists. Most religions imprison by persuasion so their victims submit willingly.

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        “The Catholic belief is because they believe a soul is assigned at conception. They force that belief on others.”

        Whether or not you believe in a soul, I’m assuming you have some objection to killing people. The Catholic belief is that abortion amounts to killing a person—i.e., murder. They “force that belief on others” only in the same sense that we force the belief that murder is wrong on others. Surely you don’t hold that a person who thinks murder is OK should be free to murder. In that case the only caveat we could have against murder would be “If you’re opposed to murder, don’t murder anyone.”

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

          No, we force punishment on people who actually murder other people. The Catholics want to force their beliefs on other people. That would be the correct language to use here. And by the way, how do they feel about molesting children?

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          That is the belief but why condemn others to die as well or suffer bodily mutilation to save the life of another.
          Especially when that other is not in fact a person but an insensate blob of cells.
          Effectively nothing,
          Like the human cells full of dna flying around everywhere.
          That they think it is killing people just shows how stupid they are.
          That they expect others to suffer and die to preserve that (non) life is nasty oppressive evil.

          • Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

            “. . .that other is not in fact a person but an insensate blob of cells. Effectively nothing.”

            If that’s what a fetus is, then you’re absolutely right.

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      There is more to it, because I don’t know of any other circumstances under which a person is obliged to take risks on behalf of another person, except for soldiers during war. E.g. they never force anyone to donate blood, even if there are people dying of blood loss.

      To say that the mother is obliged to carry to term her fetus regardless of her will, even if we consider the fetus salient, is tantamount to stating that women exist not for their own sake but to serve other people.

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        “I don’t know of any other circumstances under which a person is obliged to take risks on behalf of another person.”

        The Catholic position is not that the mother “is obliged to take risks” on behalf of the fetus—that’s the whole point of allowing abortions if the mother’s health or life is at risk, a simple application of the “self-defense” principle. What the Catholic position holds is that if both the mother and fetus (read “child” from the Catholic pov) are healthy, then the mother is not free to kill the child, because the child, like the mother, has a right to life.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          For a woman who does not want a child, the ordeal of pregnancy is a nightmare.
          Her body is invaded and changed and used and malformed and misshapen and then she either has her guts cut open and have the thing wrenched out oh her and then sewn back up, scared for life, or she is stretched and torn open, having part of her body changed considerably, for life.
          Then there is the pain, pain I am told that can be excruciating, for hours on end.
          And also the various sickness like morning sickness.
          Then, finally the mortality rate just from normal pregnancy gone wrong.

          The ‘woman’s’ health and life is at risk the moment conception happens.

          That you would visit such horror on another, even for the distorted notion of looking after the life of another is interesting.
          As is the this church and any church and anybody who asserts the same thing.

          For a couple of cells.

          Interesting indeed.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Well it would seem the Irish authorities are somewhat exceeding the Catholic position (as stated by you).


          • Posted June 14, 2017 at 12:39 am | Permalink

            “Well it would seem the Irish authorities are somewhat exceeding the Catholic position (as stated by you).”

            Agreed. Which is what happens when you don’t separate church and state.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      That a fetus is a human being from conception is an assertion that requires justification before laws are passed based on it. The burden of the argument is on those who wish to enforce their myth and superstition on the rest of society. Few rational minds would be persuaded except for indoctrination from early childhood.

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        There’s nothing myth-like or superstitious about the proposition that the fetus is a human being; it’s a philosophical statement that is either true or false. Where the burden of proof lies is up for grabs, but one approach might be that if we’re not sure, we should err on the side of caution—“Do no harm” and all that.

        For the record, this is not per se a religious question at all, any more than our enforcing our beliefs about murder is a religion-based superstition merely because he Bible says “Thou shalt not kill.”

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          If it is not a religious based question then why is it coming straight from the Pope. Same as using a Condom right? Killing is a moral question but we do not need Catholics to determine or define that for us.

          • Posted June 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

            “If it is not a religious based question then why is it coming straight from the Pope.”

            Actually it’s not coming straight from the Pope. The Church’s position on abortion is not dogma—that is, it doesn’t come “ex Cathedra” (literally, from the Chair) and doesn’t fall under the rubric of Papal infallibility. It’s countered, in fact, by the Church’s position that each individual must be follow his/her own conscience even if it conflicts with Church teaching. This doctrine—the primacy of individual conscience—was explicitly stated by Thomas Aquinas and defended by every Catholic theologian since then. If a Catholic woman in good conscience disagrees with the Church and decides to have an abortion, she’s on solid theological ground.

            Note that in all of my remarks, I’m not defending the Catholic position but merely clarifying it and pointing out that it’s eminently reasonable/defensible, not the “travesty” that many people seem to think.

            • Randy schenck
              Posted June 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

              You can explain it and put cream and sugar on it if you want. I don’t buy it. Look at Ireland and still tell the world this kind of law and the aftermath does not come directly from the church. Why do Catholics and other religions spend so much time attempting to overturn and change our laws and stop all abortions. As I have said before, feed it to my cat and see how long he eats it.

              • Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

                Your cat’s not Cat-lic?

              • Randy schenck
                Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

                I’m pretty sure you are right on that detail. Neither one of them have ever confessed to anything and human institutions have no affect either.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Not many philosophical statements are easily determined as either true or false.
          That’s why libraries are full of journals and books and collections of pages and pages of argument.
          However, this one is easily answerable, using the correct premises.
          There is no souls, so that is not a consideration.
          A fetus ‘is’ a fetus. That it ‘may’ become a person is irrelevant.
          It is ‘not’ a person.
          It full-fills no characteristics of a person.
          It can not suffer as a person.
          It can not do anything a person can.

          To inflict any kind of suffering on a real person for the sake of this non person, is evil.
          if a person wants to endure, or enjoy pregnancy and birth, good for them, but that means nothing for those who do not want it.

          We have to go by what things are. A blob of 4 cells is just that, and that ‘is’ all.

          A person ‘is’ just that, a person.

          If you want to play what might happen or what might develop then the same argument can be applied to a woman.
          She might become sick. She might suffer complications, she might die.

          Therefore, if future considerations are important it is still the case that abortion is the correct choice, for those who want it.

          Those who disagree are simply wrong.

          • Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

            “A blob of 4 cells is just that,”

            There are strong arguments against the Catholic position (see my reply to Adam M. below) but the argument that we’re just destroying cells isn’t one of them. A new-born baby is just a blob of cells, so where do we draw the line as to how many cells we can destroy with impunity?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      One reason people are reluctant to respect that view is because so few of those who hold it are prepared to accept its logical consequences.

      If a fertilized ovum is the ontological equivalent of a human being, then we should be duty-bound to retrieve those that are expelled with women’s menstrual fluid so that they can be (re-)implanted, either in the women who discharge them or in suitable surrogates. Given that this is the fate of nearly half of all zygotes, the failure to do so is to abide a holocaust.

      • Posted June 12, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        LOL! Your example is a bit of a stretch, Ken; you’d make a good Catholic theologian for someone who left the Church at 15—how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

        That said,your overall point is well taken, but I’d point out that many people don’t hold the view in question because they aren’t prepared to accept the logical consequences. If an unborn child is a human being, then there’s essentially no difference between killing a child before it’s born or after it’s born or, for that matter, killing an adult who’s the product of rape or incest. That’s hard to swallow.

      • nicky
        Posted June 12, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        I think Steve Pinker argued that: they do not really believe that.
        If they did, they would be fighting for most of our medical efforts and funding be used for preventing this spontaneous loss of embryos, there were most innocent full humans are dying.
        If they do not really believe that, what is then the true motivatìon? The box is thrown wide open, controlling female sexuality is high on the list there, it seems.

        • Posted June 13, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Or, since real people do not have a unified “belief set”, they may both believe and not believe it.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, of course, and I think the burden of ‘proof’ lies with those who want to change the status quo.

      And in this case it is largely a philosophical question. There’s no question that a fertilized egg is human life. US courts don’t hold it to be a person with rights, but the same arguments that allow them to ban late-term abortions and infanticide could also apply to early-term abortions. There’s nothing so special about birth or a 51% chance of survival. It really comes down to what the balance should be between the rights of the unborn, mother, father, parents (in the case of pregnant minors), wider society, etc. And those are largely value judgments.

      Unfortunately, I doubt they’d argue in good faith. Even if it was proven that allowing abortion is good for everyone (which I think it usually is), those in power are going to do what they want based on their personal religious prejudices…

      • Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Excellent post, Adam. By raising the issue of balancing values you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem with the Catholic position is not that it lacks logic or reason, but that it lacks everything except logic or reason. Mainly, it lacks empathy. It fails to take into account the emotional and psychological needs of the mother (perhaps because it was arrived at by all men—you think?) or the effects on “wider society, etc.” Hence, the strongest case to make against the Catholic position is to concede that abortion is the taking of human life (this is an important step because it disarms their main contention) but argue that it should be allowed anyway because of other, overriding values.

  15. Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    “. . .not simply rant against its application.”

    “Rant” was a bad choice of words. Didn’t mean to suggest that Jerry was ranting, which he never does. “Bemoan its application” would be better. My apologies.

  16. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    And that is why Comey was fired. He failed to give the loyalty oath.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Whoops.. that was meant to go into the next post.

  17. Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    The insanity is on the part of the catholic church and the unconscionable Irish abortion laws upheld by Irish government. Also, the psychiatrists who testified. The state and church should have no right to enforce anything that infringes on the life and freedoms of the girl. In addition to depression, now the girl knows in her deepest marrow that the state and church care nothing about her. This girl’s entire life is ruined.

    Especially in the case of incest, the punishment should be directed toward the abuser, not the abuse.

    I have often thought that if the catholic church thinks all these unwanted babies should be born, the church should take them in to raise. But, that would only perpetuate the insanity taught by the church.

    • Posted June 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      abuse = abused.

    • nicky
      Posted June 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Could easily be solved: Church pays, but no say on ‘nurture’ and education.

  18. Posted June 13, 2017 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    So abortion is killing a potential human. In that case, masturbating priests are committing murder too!

    • Posted June 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      “So abortion is killing a potential human. In that case, masturbating priests are committing murder too!”

      Close, but no cigar. Abortion per the Catholic Church is the killing of an actual human being and therefore is the equivalent of murder. Masturbation is the killing of a potential human being and is therefore a lesser sin–the equivalent of, say, involuntary manslaughter. I kid you not!

  19. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 13, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Those who are outraged by this, and would like to do more than just express their feelings verbally, could bung a few bucks to Abortion Support Network, a UK-based charity that offers financial help and practical advice to Irish women needing to travel to the UK for an abortion. (Just Google them)

    (Disclaimer: I have no connection with them except an occasional donation).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      (And I know I post this every time this topic comes up. If Grania or PCC feel it’s inappropriate for any reason I’ll stop).


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