Adults do not obey

The best comment I’ve read on the topic of Savita Halappanavar’s death comes fromĀ Emer O’Toole, in the Guardian:

I am no longer a Catholic, so I need to look for earthly explanations as to what happened to Halappanavar. The medical technology to prevent this painful, senseless death was at hand. Yet doctors did not use it. Why? One could argue that they had to obey Irish law. In The Origins of Totalitarianism, speaking of defences mounted by the perpetrators of atrocities during the Holocaust, Hannah Arendt says that adult citizens cannot obey. Children and animals can obey, but adults have the capacity to morally assess the actions that their sociopolitical systems demand of them.

Adults do not obey, they consent.

Godwin’s Law aside, the message here is clear. Regardless of what Irish law may be (and of what it may become) with respect to abortion, any doctor who has stood by and allowed a woman to die, rather than even attempt provide the medical care she needed, bears moral responsibility for her death.