Joan McCarthy
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Reproductive justice in Ireland
A feminist analysis of the Neary and Halappanavar cases
in Ethical and legal debates in Irish healthcare
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This chapter offers a feminist reading of two Irish cases that raise important ethical and legal concerns: the unnecessary peripartum hysterectomies at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda and the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in October 2012. Key to this feminist analysis is a desire to understand the mechanisms by which the voices and concerns of the women at the centre of these cases were ignored, marginalised and trivialised. The chapter addresses the cultural dis-ease with women’s bodies and reproductive autonomy and the excess of epistemic and moral authority vested in doctors and religious leaders and the correlated lack of authority invested in women patients and midwives.

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