Not an incubator

A female body is not an incubator where you can put things in and take things out at will.

A woman in Ireland has been forced, after 25 weeks of pregnancy, to undergo a caesarean because an abortion was not allowed to her. Not allowed although Ireland since a while has a law that makes it possible for women to get an abortion if their life is in danger and it’s longstanding practice to send women to England for an abortion when needed. But this woman didn’t know her rights, didn’t speak the language very well yet and she was extremely vulnerable. She’s an immigrant from a culture where pregnancy outside of marriage is a taboo, who was raped before she came to Ireland and got pregnant from that. Because of the rape and the pregnancy she was suicidal and didn’t want to have the baby.

Who came up with the idea to have a caesarean at 25 weeks instead of an abortion? What’s the ratio of that for god’s sake? The child has a chance of almost 50% to die anyway, whether or not after a lot of agony, in which case the result is the same as an abortion, and even if it survives, chances are more than 70% it will have a (severe) disability. That is, in the best case, when the mother got corticosteroids and  excellent neonatal care is available, otherwise statistics are much worse.

Anyway, the consequences for the mother are horrible. Being raped is always traumatic, but the long-term consequences depend on the duration of the rape, the inevitability of the situation, the frequency and the amount of physical violence and humiliation.
Refugees who have been raped, have usually experienced a lot of violence, like in this example from a refugee from South Sudan:

Nyawal was among a group of 18 women who were raped in Palop. She said, “I was three months pregnant, but because I was raped by so many men, the baby came out. If I had refused those people, they would have killed me. Nine men raped me. They were Dinka.” In tears, she recounted that soldiers made her watch as they forced large wooden sticks inside the vaginas of seven women who refused to be raped. The soldiers said, “If you do not want [to be raped], we will do this to you. They [the other women] were strong, and refused. I wanted to live, so I allowed them to rape me.” Nyawal said that the seven women died as a result. A 26 year-old mother of four who was in the same group of women said that she and another 10 women were raped by 14 men. (Amnesty International)

The woman in Ireland thought to have come to a country where she would be safe, where she would be protected and helped. Instead, she not only was forced to continue for weeks a pregnancy she didn’t want, but also to undergo a medical treatment that will leave her with scars for the rest of her life. The physical scar from the caesarean will be a lifelong reminder of her pregnancy, but especially of her rape. It will be a barrier to a normal relationship (how will you explain that scar in a culture where pregnancy outside a marriage is a taboo?) and it will worsen the trauma. Good care and social support can help prevent long-term symptoms from developing. Good support might help a woman to develop trust in herself and might lessen her feeling to live in an unsafe and evil world. This is a missed chance that only deepens the mental scars.

Who won something here?

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