A lot of you have probably heard about the sad story of Savita.  A woman who died in Ireland because the doctors deemed her dying unborn baby to be more important than her life.   Here is the article.  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw the story on Facebook yesterday. And then on Reddit. And then from another Facebook post. And then thousands of articles about it on Google news. The story was so sad. And what shocked me even more is that it happened in a hospital I walk past almost every day.

And from what I’ve come to know of the Irish system of bureaucracy, I wasn’t surprised that a totally innocent, non-Catholic woman died in the name of the religious rite. A few weeks ago, during election time, I remember hearing Irish news talk about how American politics were so much more concerned with social issues like abortion and gay rights–and they certainly didn’t say that as if it were a good thing. More of a, why are they so concerned with those issues?  The students I’ve talked to have more or less had the attitude of, oh, people just go to England for abortions. It’s illegal here, but it’s not really a big deal. That’s just how it is.  Total complacency. But when their tuition goes up 250 euro…they suddenly know how to stand up to the government and organize marches and protests.

I’m not trying to be an expert on Irish government or anything, but I can’t help but have an opinion.  Now all the articles are about how the Irish government is going to rectify the situation, and clarify the law.  Too bad they didn’t do that before someone died. Too bad the political analysts were pointing fingers at Americans when they could have been looking at their own government.

It’s absolutely maddening. I can’t imagine the pain of  losing your wife and unborn child, in a situation where she could have lived. He had to watch her go through days of agony. As if that isn’t enough, the whole situation is thrown in to the public eye at the center of a political scandal. It seems like in situations regarding death and politics, the people become fictional.  These are REAL people.  Real people with real lives and families and jobs.  When we will we stop letting people die for reasons like this?? I mean, the restricted access to life saving abortion in a developed country is one sad situation, and there are thousands of others out there.  There’s that big one out there–war. A 3 letter word to describe a whole lot of awful.

I’m only waiting for the political statements, “at least something good came from it” or “it was gods plan”.  Fuck religion. Seriously. Fuck it.


Religion and Walls, Actual Walls: My Visit to Belfast

Hi Everyone,

I went to Belfast, Northern Ireland over the weekend.  I won’t pretend to be an expert on Irish history or politics in this post, I promise. (Listening to Irish peoples sometimes overbearing take on American politics has been quite exhausting, so I do not want to do the same.) But, in case you aren’t familiar with the topic, the north of Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, using British money.  The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union, and uses Euros.  The Republic of Ireland is mainly a catholic country, whereas Northern Ireland is Protestant.

The Irish Republican Army, or the IRA is/was a Catholic affiliated group that promoted (with terrorism…) that Ireland be united as one country, not divided between the north and the south.  The Protestants up north however, wanted to remain a part of the UK, who they identified religiously and historically with.  And from what I understand of the “troubles” in the 1960’s and 70’s there was a shit ton of bombings, murders, terrorist attacks, and arson out of anger between the protestants and the Catholics.

My program director, who showed us around the city is from Belfast, and was also raised catholic.  He told us stories about his brothers involvement in the IRA, the police arresting him and asking him to be the spy, and other horror stories about growing up in such a turbulent time and place. He told us that the city is peaceful now, but I can rarely remember feeling so anxious and nervous as I was in West Belfast. I felt less creeped out in Juarez, Mexico.

I would not define Belfast as a peaceful city. There is a HUGE wall dividing the catholic and protestant neighborhoods. And there is NO movement for it to be taken down. In fact, the last addition to the wall was 8 MONTHS ago. The schools are completely segregated. The hospitals are completely segregated. Catholic pubs are totally gated off with cameras outside, so you can’t get in unless you are recognized. The old “joke” goes is that they would check you for a gun at the door, and if you didn’t have one they would lend you one.

Wall Separating Catholic Belfast and Protestant Belfast

I wasn’t expecting to see a wall like this. I mean, I remember my parents telling me about the Berlin wall and growing up hearing about that. I know that there is a lot of segregation in the world, but I wasn’t expecting to see such stark division here. I have been  living in Ireland for about a month now and overall it is pretty comparable to the US.   It was just so sad and depressing to hear about the violence and segregation caused by religion.  I hate violence. I find it detestable.  I don’t subscribe to a world view that everyone in the world should get along and be friends, or that we will ever be without conflict. But I don’t find believing in a slightly different religion to be a good enough reason to bomb and kill each other.

Most bombed hotel in Europe–the Europa in Belfast

On the walls separating the city was some graffiti that said “a good argument for atheism”, and I could not agree more. It’s so ironic that these walls are sometimes referred to as “Peace walls”.  Peace is not closing gates to the catholic area between 10pm and 7am.  Peace is not terrorism. Peace is not celebrating “heros” of the IRA or the Volunteers who murdered innocent people.  Religion ruins everything.  I would recommend the film Shadow Dancer–it is an Irish political thriller focusing on the IRA and the Troubles. I would also recommend reading God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. He talks a bit about the political atmosphere in Belfast in the book.

A good argument for atheism

On a side note, the most frustrating part of the trip was when some fellow students h started taking funny pictures next to the walls. I was nearly moved to tears, realizing that I was on a street that was once burned down because of religious conflict and here these girls stood–making fun of Asians eyes in front of a modern day tragedy.  I have some dignity, and some hope that I can be even a very small part of a world that moves towards peace and rationality.

be kind,


Rights for Women, Hooray!

I care deeply about women’s health.  I love and support Planned Parenthood and all the great things they do for women. At the Planned Parenthood I go to, there are protesters every single day. They hold up graphic signs and hand out brochures with mis-information.  The Catholic Diocese  pays someone to protest all day long.  I hate that I’m forced to drive through a judging, scary mob just to get birth control pills.  I hate that women who are having one of the worst days of their lives have to go through a bunch of holier than thou judgmental Christians who think their belief should create a universal standard for all people.  And, a bunch of the protesters are men! What is your business worrying about what is or is not inside my reproductive organs?

I attend a Catholic University, and we are required to take three theology courses.   I took my first course with a priest, and during the semester the university decided to pull all funding for contraceptives from their health care for employees.  That’s fine–it’s a private institution and they can do that.  But anyway, the priest wanted to have a class discussion about it. He told me to my face that the legislation regarding contraceptives wasn’t a women’s issue. It was a theology issue.  I haven’t been so mad in a very very long time.  And I have never been so proud to give such an obviously disgusted look at an authority figure.

I watched this video and perused Planned Parenthood’s Action Center for some information on how the health care plan will effect women.  I keep reading over and over from different sources that women will be able to get birth control for no co-pay.  That just hasn’t sunk in for me yet. Like, I can have it, for free? All I have to do is have a prescription and an annual check-up? That must only apply to some women…It just seems to good to be true….

I’m just a firm, firm believer that I can have sex with whoever I want! And no one should decide if I take contraception (or any other kind of medication or treatment for that matter) besides me and my doctor.  And if these conservative Christians have such a problem with abortion, why don’t the spend more time on addressing the root issue of unwanted pregnancies, or offer to pay for the damn child to be born, or to improve the foster care system in this country?

Stay Adorable, and Safe.  M.C.