The parents of Savita Halappanavar, who suffered a miscarriage and died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital, slammed Ireland’s abortion laws yesterday. Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she miscarried and died last month. Ireland’s government confirmed that Halappanavar suffered from blood poisoning and died after being denied an abortion, reigniting the debate over legalising abortion in the Catholic country.
“In an attempt to save a 4-month-old fetus they killed my 30-year-old daughter. How is that fair you tell me?” A Mahadevi, Halappanavar’s mother, asked.
“How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians,” she said.
Halappanavar’s father, Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter’s death. The spokesman for Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said in a Twitter post that the Indian Embassy was “following the matter.”
Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, said doctors at University Hospital Galway in western Ireland determined that his wife was miscarrying within hours of her hospitalisation for severe pain on October 21. He said over the next three days, doctors refused their requests for an abortion to combat her searing pain and fading health.
It was only after the foetus died that its remains were surgically removed. Within hours, Savita was placed under sedation in intensive care with blood poisoning, her husband said. By October 27, her heart, kidneys and liver had stopped working, and she was pronounced dead the next day.
Three separate investigations are looking into the cause of Halappanavar’s death.
Ireland’s constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling said the procedure should be legalised for situations when the woman’s life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.
An estimated 4,000 Irish women travel next door to England every year, where abortion has been legal on demand since 1967. But that option is difficult, if not impossible, if the woman’s health is failing.
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