Human Exceptionalism

Why Revulsion at Dead Woman Giving Birth?

So a woman is declared brain dead in Ireland, but not taken off maintenance so her unborn child can gestate long enough to survive. The family wants to bury her.  But a human life can be saved!

This really upsets Emer O’Toole in The Guardian. From, “A Brain Dead Irish Woman’s Body Is Being Used as an Incubator: Be Angry:”

It is right to be angry and upset in the face of injustice… Be angry that a dead woman’s body is being used as an incubator. Be upset that Miss Y was forced to carry her rapist’s child to 24 weeks. These are women’s bodies. These are women’s lives. And that is what matters here.

Why the dripping disdain? Anger at Ireland’s anti-abortion laws is the pretext. But is this case really about abortion?

I understand the family can’t move on. That has got to be terribly painful.

But how is the woman hurt in any way? Her life isn’t affected. She’s gone. Her body isn’t being harmed, but it is benefiting her child–just as she did before her brain failed.

Would the same people think it wrong to try and save the baby in a mechanical incubator? I suspect so. Because, well, the baby should be dead.

Meanwhile, in Italy, another brain dead woman’s baby has been saved. From the The Local IT story:

In what has been hailed a miracle, a baby boy has been born to an Italian woman pronounced clinically dead in October. The 36-year-old woman was 23 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Doctors were unable to save her, but with the agreement of her family, they kept her on life support for the next nine weeks. She was kept alive with equipment that kept her breathing and her blood flowing, while a tube to her intestines fed the growing fetus.

When she reached the 32nd week of pregnancy on Thursday, doctors performed a cesarean, La Stampa reported. The baby boy was born weighing 1.8 kilos and in good health.

A new baby has been born and joins us in the world! Surely, saving a life is worth the effort. I believe that greater good should matter most.

I am beginning to believe that lurking underneath it all, some people loathe the female reproductive function. 

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