Friday, November 16th, 2012
A 17-week pregnant woman who died in an Irish hospital late last month is at the center of a debate over whether the Catholic country’s anti-abortion laws put women’s lives in danger. Savita Halappanavar checked into the hospital complaining of back pain, but was soon told she was having a miscarriage. Despite her considerable physical pain, she was denied assistance that would have amounted to an abortion. She died 3 days later of a blood infection. From CNN.com:
“Doctors at Galway University Hospital said that as long as the fetal heartbeat could be felt, the law prevented them from ending the pregnancy, Holland said. Halappanavar died of septicemia, or a blood infection, after three days in the hospital.
“Tuesday morning, came back and said, ‘Sorry, can’t help you. It’s a Catholic country. Can’t help you. It’s a Catholic team.’ So, Savita said that she was not a Catholic. She is Hindu, so why impose the law of the land on her?” her husband said.
The death led to protests, and top Irish lawmakers are asking whether the law needs to be changed.
In Ireland, abortion is legal if the mother’s life is at risk, which is different from her health being at risk, Holland said.
The hospital expressed sympathy to Halappanavar’s husband, but noted in a statement that “the facts of this tragic case have yet to be established.”
Image: Empty hospital bed, via Shutterstock
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Monday, July 16th, 2012
Weeks after she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise, who is perhaps the most famous member of the Church of Scientology, Katie Holmes has reportedly enrolled her daughter Suri Cruise in an all-girl’s Catholic school. Holmes was raised as a Catholic, though she had participated in some Scientologist rituals and practices during her marriage to Cruise. MSNBC.com has more:
Katie Holmes, 33, has reportedly enrolled her daughter, 6, in Manhattan’s prestigious Convent of the Sacred Heart. The school’s notable alumnae list includes Lady Gaga, 26, Jordana Brewster, 32, Paris Hilton, 31, Caroline Kennedy, 54, and the late Gloria MorganVanderbilt.
When classes begin, the previously homeschooled Suri will be required to attend Catholic mass every Thursday. Tuition at Convent of the Sacred Heart costs $38,000 a year.
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Monday, March 19th, 2012
The new rule that mandates health insurance plans to cover contraceptive medication will apply to health plans offered by religious organizations, Obama administrations clarified late last week. The announcement clarified an earlier statement that an “accommodation” would be offered to religious groups who object to funding birth control medication on the basis of their faiths.
The New York Times reports that Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the government would guarantee women access to birth control “while accommodating religious liberty interests:”
The new proposal escalates the election-year fight over the administration’s birth control policy.
President Obama had previously announced what he described as an “accommodation” for religiously affiliated organizations that buy commercial insurance but object, for religious reasons, to covering contraceptives and sterilization procedures. In these cases, the White House said, the insurer “will be required to provide contraception coverage to women free of charge.”
On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services went a step further and said it would propose a similar requirement for group health plans sponsored by religious organizations that insure themselves.
Sebelius said that in lieu of the religious institutions paying for the contraceptives, pharmaceutical companies could offer substantial rebates to allow the faith-based groups to provide the medication without funding it themselves.
Image: Birth control pills, via Shutterstock.
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