Irish Times is offering an article with the headline “Woman ‘denied a termination’ dies in hospital.” It’s pretty clear that this is an attempt to convince people that direct and intentional abortion is sometimes necessary to save a woman’s life and that the Catholic Church is “unreasonable” to say that direct and willful abortion is murder. The woman the article refers to died as a result of E.coli infection, not of pregnancy.
Over at BabyCenter.com you will find a Q and A about E.coli during pregnancy.
As a medical technologist I see E. coli on a daily basis–it’s somewhat of a pet in the lab. E. coli is a normal intestinal inhabitant–we couldn’t exist without it. But it likes to wander off to body sites where it doesn’t belong, and is the most common bacterium isolated from cultures. It is by far the leading cause of UTIs and septicemia, along with many, many other infections. The good news is that most strains are easily treatable. Cleanliness is the key to keeping E. coli in its place–wash your hands frequently, and if you’re a woman, wipe from the front to the back.
My condolences to the family of the woman who died, for their loss, but it seems impossible that an abortion would have saved her. On the other hand, it does seem likely that good hygiene would have saved her. She should certainly not have waited until she was on her deathbed to seek treatment. Also, it is very possible that the E.coli also caused her to miscarry.
Instead of using this incident to argue for killing innocent babies, we should consider this as an example to encourage women to use good hygiene in order to prevent their death (and the death of their baby) from E.coli infection.