Thursday, November 15, 2012


In the news is a story about a pregnant Indian woman named Savita Halappanava, who was reported to have died recently in an Irish hospital due to her allegedly being denied an abortion.

This is an important story because Americans have just re-elected the most pro-abortion President in history who ran on a platform of "reproductive rights", a platform which would find major justification if this woman's death is found to be the direct result of having been denied an abortion.

I say "found to be", because the case is still under investigation and the actual account of the events leading up to the woman's death which we have thus far do not show that she asked for an abortion.

This story from the Daily Mail, even though it joins the "abortion" chorus in its headlines, shows - in the  body of the article in which the events are retold - that the woman found that she was miscarrying and that it would be over in a few hours.

Anyone familiar with miscarriages knows that this is normal. She had been examined and re-examined, and if the hospital is to be faulted, it is for not detecting the onset of septicaemia which is alleged to have killed her.

However - and as can be expected, the pro-aborts aren't waiting around for facts, nor would they matter. The narrative is that the Catholic Church killed this woman, since Ireland is a "Catholic country" and abortion is still mostly banned there.

But for those who actually care about facts, here's a few.

1. The Daily Mail story reports that the fetus was determined to be inviable.

2. If that was the case, the Catholic moral principle of "Double Effect" may have applied.

3. The principle states that certain actions which would otherwise be considered evil, are not considered so when the intention is not to commit the evil.

An example of this is the situation presented by a tubal pregnancy which would most likely kill both the  mother and the baby. The removal of the tube will result in the death of the baby but the intention is not to kill the baby. The same is true in certain cases of ovarian cancer in which if left untreated, both mother and baby would die.

Thus, if in fact the fetus was deemed to be inviable -as the story says - then it may have been licit to remove the fetus, as this would have been similar to the situation presented by a tubal pregnancy.

However, all the facts from inside the story simply show that this was a miscarriage gone bad. If the investigation eventually proves that an abortion was denied and the woman's death was a direct result of that decision, then the issue is a matter of the hospital not understanding Catholic moral principles in regards to Double Effect.

This would not be a surprise. Catholics the world over, including doctors, are poorly formed in even the basics of the faith let alone finer points such as this.

In the end, the facts won't matter. The pro-aborts already have their narrative: The Catholic Church killed this woman. Remember: "You will be hated..." - Jesus

Below is a definition of DOUBLE EFFECT as found in the Modern Catholic Dictionary edited by Fr. John Hardon, S. J.

The principle that says it is morally allowable to perform an act that has at least two effects, one good and one bad. It may be used under the following conditions: 

  1. The act to be done must be good in itself or at least morally indifferent; by the act to be done is meant the deed itself taken independently of its consequences; 
  2. The good effect must not be obtained by means of the evil effect; the evil must be only an incidental by-product and not an actual factor in the accomplishment of the good; 
  3. The evil effect must not be intended for itself but only permitted; all bad will must be excluded form the act; 
  4. There must be a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect. At least the good and evil effects should be nearly equivalent. All four conditions must be fulfilled. If any one of them is not satisfied, the act is morally wrong.

An example of the lawful use of the double effect would be the commander of a submarine in wartime who torpedoes an armed merchant vessel of the enemy, although he foresees that several innocent children on board will be killed. All four required conditions are fulfilled: 

  1. He intends merely to lessen the power of the enemy by destroying an armed merchant ship. He does not wish to kill the innocent children; 
  2. His action of torpedoing the ship is not evil in itself;
  3. The evil effect (the death of the children) is not the cause of the good effect (the lessening of the enemy's strength); 
  4. There is sufficient reason for permitting the evil effect to follow, and this reason is administering a damaging blow to those who are unjustly attacking his country.
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