Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

In Ireland, the case for legal abortion is built on fraud

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 04, 2012

Legal abortion is coming soon to Ireland, it now seems likely, arriving the same way it arrived in the US 40 years ago: by fraud.

In the US, the plaintiffs in the landmark cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have both testified that their cases were based on fraud. Norma McCorvey (“Roe”) was not raped; Sandra Cano (“Doe”) did not even want an abortion! After converting to the pro-life cause (and the Catholic Church), the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson revealed that he and other prominent abortionists had manufactured statistics to support their argument for legalizing their practice, and duped the media into accepting them.

Today, in Ireland, abortion advocates are exploiting the tragic death of a young woman to rally public opinion for their cause. The Irish Times reporter who originally broke the report about the death of Savita Halappanavar now concedes that the story was “may be a little muddled” because she did not check all the relevant facts.

She certainly didn’t. There is no evidence that Savita Halappanavar sought an abortion. There is no evidence that an abortion would have saved her life. There is, in fact, no evidence to support a connection between the abortion issue and this poor woman’s death. The reporter, Kitty Holland, told an RTE broadcast audience that her story never claimed an abortion would have saved the young woman’s life. But the headline—“Woman denied a termination dies in hospital’—certainly conveyed that impression. And in the days since the story appeared, dozens of Irish politicians and pundits have joined in clamorous calls for an end to the country’s abortion ban.

In the sad case of Savita Halappanavar, what would have changed if abortion on demand had been legal in Ireland? Absolutely nothing. Her doctors were authorized to take any actions necessary to save her life. If those doctors were influenced by the teachings of the Catholic Church, they should have known that the Church, too, supports intervention to save the life of the mother, even at risk to the unborn child.

But the facts seem not to matter, in this rush to judgment. The general impression in Ireland—an impression that has been nurtured by the mass media—is that Savita Halappanavar died because the Catholic Church would not allow an abortion. This belief has given rise to public outrage, and the abortion industry hopes to ride that outrage to political victory. Thus:

  • It doesn’t matter that the Catholic Church does not set laws or medical policies in Ireland;
  • It doesn’t matter that existing law allows for abortion, if necessary to save the mother’s life;
  • It doesn’t matter that the hospital record shows no request for an abortion in the Halappanavar case;
  • It doesn’t matter that no one has explained how an abortion would have saved the young woman’s life;
  • It doesn’t matter that we still don’t know the cause of Savita Halappanavar’s death.

If they genuinely wanted to prevent another such tragic death, Irish reporters would be scrambling to learn what actually happened in the Halappanavar case. But there is no competition to expose the medical facts. On the contrary, media outlets appear willing to let the exploitation proceed unchecked. The Irish Independent learned that the proponents of legal abortion learned about Savita Halappanavar’s death 3 days before the news became public, and held a strategy session to discuss how they might capitalize on the tragedy. That cynical manipulation went unreported elsewhere; other reporters were too busy taking their cues from the abortion advocates.

The next few scenes in this drama are all too predictable. The government will introduce legislation allowing for legal abortion when the mother’s health is in danger. The Catholic Church, still struggling to recover from months of scandal, will be powerless to influence public opinion. Swamped by the tsunami of emotional reporting and commentary, legislators will approve the measure. Courts will take an expansive view of what constitutes the mother’s “health,” and within a few years, Ireland will have abortion on demand.

What would it take to stop this political juggernaut? Just one thing: honesty. But as we Americans can testify, when it comes to the abortion debate, honesty is in short supply.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 24, 2017 7:04 PM ET USA

    Steve Skojec reports the Grand Master has resigned at the request of Pope Francis. I remember a friend who used to say "Funny... Funny" in a halting, musing manner after seemingly incongruous or ironic occurrences. "Curiouser and curiouser." "Malta" has not had the most auspicious start to 2017.

  • Posted by: nix898049 - Jan. 22, 2017 5:33 PM ET USA

    Over the years I've known some outstanding men who are Knights of Columbus. And I'm sure most are serious about the Church. But with the support of KofC legislators, New York legalized pseudogamy. I'm wondering if membership is now open to men who are practically, as in almost Catholics, rather than the 'practical' type. I miss the days when dirty laundry was a private matter.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jan. 21, 2017 2:52 PM ET USA

    Very informative article about a very strange situation. As to your last paragraph, Why not!! The abortion rights groups obviously would dismiss any member who objected. Charles Curran lost his license to teach because of contraception. If you are a Catholic you must believe in and abide by the Ten Commandments. Do the Knights require a member to be Catholic? I assume so.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jan. 21, 2017 12:40 AM ET USA

    Since Nov. 2014, Card. Raymond Burke was appointed the Patron of the Knights of Malta. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that one, or more, of his adversaries in the Vatican attempt to show who's the boss.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Jan. 20, 2017 10:16 PM ET USA

    The reason is that Catholics would (and should) ask why the Church can't impose a penalty upon pro-abortion Catholic public figures while a Catholic fraternal organization can.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jan. 20, 2017 8:47 PM ET USA

    If the rumors are correct and they sound accurate then individual involved should be dismissed. Given that the Knights are a sovereign body the Vatican needs to back off unless there are those in the Vatican who are also involved. Then Church has a bigger problem. Hopefully that is not the case otherwise we have Satan running throughout the Vatican leadership. Perhaps it is time to drain that swamp.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jan. 20, 2017 8:23 PM ET USA

    How much more can one say after such a smashingly appropriate title?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 22, 2012 1:15 PM ET USA

    Well, what do you expect from the Great Deceiver,the Master of Lies. Of course, death comes through fraud!