Hijacking Savita Halappanavar's Case with Dubious Motives?
The CSF gives a Secular View & the Indian Experience of Abortion
The CSF kudos to The National United Christian Forum (NUCF) comprising members of all Christian denominations which has asked all concerned to stop making the death of an Indian woman in Ireland a Church-versus-State issue. In a statement issued by Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi, president of NUCF, Bishop Taranath Sagar of National Council of Churches in India and Reverend Atul Aghamkar of Evngelical Fellowship of India, urged the tragedy be a catalyst for change in India. They also called upon all political leaders to refrain from making loose remarks against any community, in an effort to derive political mileage.
The CSF finds it shocking how the Savita Halappanavar’s case in Ireland, is being used to whip-up anti-Catholic sentiment, especially in India, where Christians are being discriminated and persecuted. The BJP, leftists like Brinda Karat and a UK MP of Indian origin have been most vociferous, when in reality it is the political class that keeps society medieval and under-developed, making abortion a necessary evil. A present case of the 'impossible' possibilities with stellar advancements in science and technology is that of a Jehovah's Witness, Meena Koli of Madh Island, Mumbai who refused blood, including her own, while undergoing a critical heart operation because she said it was against her religious beliefs. Dr. Bijoy Kutty of Mulund's Platinum Hospital successfully performed the same.
Abroad one can suspect the powerful pro-abortion lobby, to blow-up this single instance to justify across-the-counter abortion, but this country with archaic laws itself, joining the chorus to make Ireland abortion friendly is surprising. We ought to know well that social legislation is hardly an enough tool to combat such issues and those concerned should rather take note of our own dismal track record. According to CSF, the solution is not abortion, but rather better policies, education, information, healthcare and social infrastructure for women, children and senior citizens - which if available, abortion may not be necessary. Further, nowhere in the entire coverage is the Catholic viewpoint mentioned, while wide publicity is given to Savita's family and politicians, despite the investigations still pending and an authorized medical conclusion awaited.
Before we look at the Indian experience, The CSF would like to point to just a few facts from UK, with a view to expose the myths of the pro-abortion lobby:
* A study in the European Journal of Public Health reveals that women are six times more likely to commit suicide after having an abortion compared with those who carry their pregnancies to term.
* A report by Confidential Inquiry into Maternal and Child Health in 2008 found that 66 babies had survived abortion. These babies were killed, as per standard British medical policy.
* Research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry shows that women who had abortions are 30% more likely to have serious mental health problems than other women.
*The Dark Culture of Pain and Death - India Needs to Wake-Up
Figures mention upto 2.5 crores unborn children have been officially aborted since the MTPA was amended (1972) and currently suggest 8 million are female foetuses of the 11 million annually aborted. The WHO Report made public earlier this year states that despite abortion and female infanticide laws, majority Indians used unsafe routes for termination of pregnancy. The country recorded 6.5 million abortions in 2008 of which 66% or two-thirds were deemed unsafe. India also recorded the major chunk of the abortions that took place in the region (south and central Asia) - 6.5 million of the total 10.5 million. In this region, for every one lakh abortions, 200 women died of it. In Ireland there were only 3 maternal deaths.
According to The Center for Reproductive Rights, every five minutes an Indian woman dies while delivering a child. Almost 20 per cent of such worldwide deaths occur in India. According to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Health, most such deaths are avoidable. In 2008, India saw 6.41 lakh official abortions across 12, 510 certified institutions, approved to carry out medical termination of pregnancy (MTP). According to the 2008 figures, leading with the highest MTPs was Uttar Pradesh (89,194) followed by Tamil Nadu (63,875), Odisha (59,945), Assam (58,409) and Maharashtra (54,545). Not only has there been an increase in abortion, but the proportion of all abortions that are unsafe has also increased. Female fetuses are being aborted at higher rates in India than ever before, as per national census (2011) data, raising fears of no to end female infanticide soon. In the critical demographic category of zero to six years, the ratio dropped to 914 girls from 927 for every 1,000 boys.
"It's very distressing," said N.B. Sarojini, a leading campaigner on the issue. The global norm of sex ratios at birth is 950 girls to 1,000 boys. Prof. Ranaja Kumari is on the national government's Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act Control Board - the body meant to supervise implementation of the law that bans sex-selection; But, she said, it has not met in more than three years.
Foetal sex determination is illegal but there have been instances where five Delhi doctors were convicted of offering the tests and abortions of female fetuses. It was reported that the courts gave them the choice of five years in prison or a 1,000-rupee fine! The ratio of girls to boys fell in 24 of India's 35 states and territories, with demographers noting that the skewed sex ratios and apparent son-preference has spread to states that were once largely immune, including the Muslim-dominated Jammu and Kashmir, and states in the northeast with traditionally matrilineal societies such as Sikkim and Manipur.
TOP 20 Consequences of Aborting or Allowing Abortion:
Abortions give rise to a number of issues - humanitarian, psychological, religious, cultural, medical, ethical, social, legal, moral... The secular reasons against abortion in India, which holds good elsewhere in the world are many. Here are some reasons why one should think many times before aborting or advocating abortion:
1. The unborn child is a human life and entitled to equal rights as the mother. The right to life is the most basic and especially since the unborn cannot even express or defend itself, it must be protected.
2. Abortion laws are practiced more in breach than in practice, as the required facilities / personnel are not available or there are loopholes in the legislation, which renders them ineffective.
3. Despite legislation to protect the girl child, experience shows that the law is as redundant as that for Sati, Dowry, Child-Marriage, etc. Besides why discriminate against the male child?
4. There is very little choice afforded and doubtful consent taken, especially in case of minors or rape. Neither is it compulsory or expected to inform the law enforcing authorities about it.
5. Glamorized as a woman's right, just as smoking or drinking is, it could result in luring females with a false sense of feminism, ushering a licentious lifestyle and break-up of the family.
6. Women are not warned of the consequences of abortion and no advisories / education given, as is done for tobacco or alcohol products, rather it is promoted as a quick-fix solution.
7. Abortion with whatever restrictions is loaded against the unborn with several medical ethics involved, as the child is also a patient entitled to equal, if not more attention.
8. It has an inherent danger of being anti-family, anti-culture and creating a societal turbulence and divide with irresponsible, anti-social, immoral and selfish citizenry.
9. It presently seems to be used as a family planning, population control or contraception means, which proves the inefficacy of these government health measures.
10. Every individual, has a right to conscience and one should not either directly or indirectly pressurize him / her to either abort or even sell products that harm life.
11. AIDS / HIV spread is likely as the law is implemented not strictly on this score, calling for testing and reporting of such cases to the concerned legal authorities
12. The practice is full of abuses, being open to franchising operations / crime syndicates and without adequate checks, bio-waste disposal, STD prevention...
13. Safety, high-risk, post-abortion neglect, long term complications are other concerns that result in death, infertility and other gynecological problems.
14. The freedom to abort, even with strict restrictions has resulted in an increasing number of foetuses losing their lives for no fault of theirs.
15. Among the physical dangers are cancers, handicapped newborns later, risk in multiple abortions, increased hazards for teenagers....
16. In India, unsafe abortion without approved facilities and/or persons is performed 15-20 times more often than safe legal abortions.
17. This leads to a skewed child sex ratio - Female:Male - which is rapidly decreasing and its proved that the girl child is being aborted.
18. Low cost abortion centers are well advertised, while counseling centers for women contemplating abortion are few to find.
19. There is no social security / infrastructure available for a woman, who would want to continue with the pregnancy.
20. There are many instances of the unborn surviving even after abortion and are killed thereafter or left to die.
Finally, The CSF points out that Catholics treat life as a precious creation of God, which we are duty-bound to nurture at every stage – from womb to tomb. Hence, Catholics have serious and legitimate concerns, not only just on abortion, but also euthanasia, contraception, death penalty, fertility practices, sexual lifestyles, medical ethics, etc. The pro life stand of the Catholic does not discriminate against the mother and is all inclusive - not stopping at birth. The Catholic’s stand continues in all life situations and aspects – physical, mental and spiritual. The Church is therefore foremost in its world campaigns for not just the unborn, but also for the sick, orphans, dying, hungry, elderly, handicapped, terminally ill, unwed mothers, human rights activists…