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Irish Abortion Laws to Blame for Woman's Death, Say Parents

World  (tags: Abortion Rights, 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', Catholic Church, conflict, death, ethics, freedoms, politics, world )

- 2432 days ago -
Savita Halappanavar's mother asks Dublin to explain actions of hospital as law expert says termination would have been lawful.


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Kit B (276)
Friday November 16, 2012, 8:36 am
( Photograph: Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters)

The parents of the woman who died after being refused an abortion in a Galway hospital have blamed Ireland's abortion laws for her death.

Their accusation comes as a legal expert in Ireland said it would have been lawful to offer Savita Halappanavar a termination that she and her husband believed would have saved her life.

Protests over her death and the near-total ban on abortion in Ireland are growing with demonstrations taking place on Thursday night in Belfast and on Friday in Derry, and a major pro choice rally is being organised for Dublin on Saturday, with more than 3,000 people already have joined a Facebook page saying they will take part.

Halapanavar's mother challenged the Irish authorities to explain why, in her view, her daughter was allowed to die.

"In an attempt to save a 4-month-old foetus they killed my ... daughter. How is that fair you tell me?" A Mahadevi told several Indian television stations.

"How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians."

Halapanavar's husband, Paveen, has claimed that when the couple asked for a termination, fearing for Savita's life, the pair were told: "This is a Catholic country." He said doctors knew his wife was miscarrying within hours of her being taken to hospital.

The 31-year-old dentist died of blood poisoning on 27 October in University Hospital Galway despite asking repeatedly to terminate her 17-week-long pregnancy. Staff refused to carry out an abortion because her husband said they had detected a foetal heartbeat even though the couple were told the baby would not survive.

Halappanavar's father, Andanappa Yalagi, alleged that the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter's death.

A spokesman for India's ministry of external affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, also confirmed in a Twitter post that the Indian embassy in Dublin was "following the matter".

The death of Halappanavar, originally from south-west India who settled in Ireland with her husband in 2008, has become a major news story on the sub-continent. The Times of India led its online coverage on Thursday with the headline: "Ireland murders pregnant Indian dentist".

Dr Gerry Whyte, an associate professor at Trinity College Dublin, claimed that the law as it stands provides for abortions, but only in cases where it is deemed necessary to save the life of a mother. He said: "The legal principle is clear, in other words, if there was a real and substantial risk to the mother's life and where termination of the pregnancy was necessary to avoid that risk, then she would have been entitled to an abortion.

"Now clearly the case raises issues that I couldn't comment on about medical judgments, about whether or not termination of the pregnancy would have saved her life or not."

Ireland's deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, confirmed on Thursday that he and the taoiseach, Enda Kenny, would be receiving copies of the expert report into abortion, which by a coincidence was handed to the government on the day the story of Halappanavar's death broke. Gilmore said it was "deeply disturbing" hearing Halappanavar's husband's account of her death.

Gilmore told the Daíl (parliament) that the time was now right to introduce guidelines on abortion two decades after the X case, which centred on a 14-year-old rape victim who was allowed after much controversy to terminate her pregnancy.

"We all need to be clear on this issue. It is 20 years since the supreme court made its finding in the X case. It is time to bring legal clarity to the issue. It was to that end that we set up the expert group and we will now deal with the recommendations in the report made to us," he said.

Gilmore stressed that for more than 25 years he has been campaigning for abortion reform in Ireland.

"Although we will not know the full details until the investigation has been completed, we have heard what Savita's husband said yesterday and as legislators we have a duty and responsibility to respond, act and deal with the issue."

He added: "I do not think we, as a country, should allow a situation where women's lives are put at risk in this way. We must deal with the issue and bring legal clarity to it."

Irish anti-abortion groups continue to insist that the Republic's laws were not responsible for Halappanavar's death.

Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute, said: "It is very sad to see abortion campaigners rush to exploit this case to further their own agenda. The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar's life was not caused by Ireland's ban on abortion. We need to ensure that mothers and babies are best protected; and abortion is not part of best medical practise. It is medieval medicine."

Henry McDonald in Dublin | The Guardian |

Kit B (276)
Friday November 16, 2012, 8:39 am

Somebody in the Vatican is going to realize that unless the Pope has a revelation from God allowing abortion, contraception, and gay rights, the Catholics are going out of business—except, perhaps, in South America.

The Catholic Church and it's desire for ever more added to their flock is responsible for this aberration in thinking, the need for this abortion to save the life of the mother should never been a discussion, only an immediate medical treatment.

Lois Jordan (63)
Friday November 16, 2012, 3:35 pm
Noted. Yes, the Catholic Church is indeed going out of business. I've recently read that only 30% of Catholics attend church....which probably means the rest have already pretty much left, including me....years ago. For that speaker of the Life Institute to say that this "wasn't caused by Ireland's ban on abortion" is an outright lie that many Irish will see right through. I'm sure this isn't an isolated case, either, and hope there will soon be some progression in Ireland on this.

pam w (139)
Friday November 16, 2012, 3:58 pm
This is DESPICABLE and hopefully, the family can sue!

Kit....Catholics in Central and South America are hanging on by their fingernails....evangelicals are gaining by leaps & bounds!

What's REALLY awful is that we ALL know people who post right here at Care2 who would make the same decision those Irish doctors did.

MURDER of the woman! They let her die......

marie T (163)
Friday November 16, 2012, 4:25 pm
Yet another horrific story about abortion What must this poor woman have gone through
Also in UK certain doctors have the right to refuse to operate usually because of their religious beliefs
What ignorance

Past Member (0)
Friday November 16, 2012, 4:31 pm
In Vietnam, if you are rich you can have a safe abortion but if you are poor you go to a cheap clinic where there are many deaths and problems, sometime you are left unable to conceived. I heard that in Ireland if you claim you have been raped, abortion is possible. The ignorance of the Catholic Church makes me very sad and thank you for posting Kit

I agree with you Pam. W and hope the family can sue.

MmAway M (519)
Friday November 16, 2012, 4:36 pm
No words. Thanks for posting Kit!

Kit B (276)
Friday November 16, 2012, 4:42 pm

Sue the Irish government or the Catholic Church or both?

Teresa Fazackerley (393)
Friday November 16, 2012, 9:05 pm
this is very sad

jo M. (3)
Friday November 16, 2012, 10:37 pm
If Ireland allows abortion when the mother's life is in danger, then it was not the law that was at fault here, it was the judgment of the doctors. Ireland's law is fine as is. And the Times of India should be ashamed of it's highly hypocritical headline considering how many children are murdered in India.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 1:40 am
The problem is that Ireland has never passed a bill that would translate the Supreme Court decision mentioned in the article into the law of the land. So it is not at all accurate to state "the law as it stands provides for abortions."

There is a legal -or legislative- void or vacuum on the issue here, because, as ARTE TV has reported for French & German viewers, the Irish Supreme Court ruling concerned one specific case, and is not a binding law that can be applied to the general public as a whole & in all cases. This is what Gilmore, the deputy prime minister, means when he says: "It is 20 years since the supreme court made its finding in the X case. It is time to bring legal clarity to the issue. .."

It is such a terrible tragedy that this beautiful young woman with so much to live for has died because of Irland's failure to pass a law on the subject of abortion. The influence of the Catholic Church has kept Ireland in the dark ages for too long. I don't know the Irish politics at all, but I can guess that no one had the courage to deal with that Supreme Court ruling by getting it into the law. Probably a touchy subject at best; maybe even political suicide. I've had Irish friends & colleagues here in Paris, and they were all modern & forward-thinking, but I really couldn't say how much they are representative of Irish public opinion. However, the protests and demonstrations are a clear indication that there is a sizeable portion of the population ready to stand up for women's rights.

The sad irony is that they wanted that child. Her pregnancy was not an accident! But given the fact that she was miscarrying & it was killing her, they wanted the abortion to save her life. They could always have started their family later.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 2:00 am
I have just been reading some of the comments on another post on Savita Halappanavar's tragic death, "The Death of Savita Halappanavar After She Was Denied An Abortion Will Divide Ireland," and the comment of C2 member, Gene Jacobson, whom I don't at all know, so touched me that I am pasting it here:

"When Mrs Halappanavar begged for a medical termination, she was crisply told that it was against the law and that she was in "a Catholic country". Four days after the baby died, she died of septicaemia."

"Ireland? It'll divide the world. The result was utterly predictable. What medical professional could NOT know that three days of labor with a fetus that was not viable would result in septic shock and therefore the death of both mother and child? That goes beyond malpractice, it is malfeasance.

Did they not take the same oath other doctors do? FIRST, do no harm? The E Coli was just added insanity as there is no better place to catch it than a hospital, or many other antibiotic resistant infections for that matter. But that isn't what is at issue here.

They KNEW what would happen and they allowed it to. They watched her die knowing full well they could save her and did nothing. Are Caesarians against their principles too? And is a single one of those precious bigoted religious principles worth a human life? Not in my book. Not in any book I've ever read. These people are no better than the heathens who drown baby girls at birth, they are cut from the same cloth. And it isn't of human origin, it comes from the darkness that shrouds the soul to allow it commit such abhorrent acts as this. May their God have mercy on their souls, I certainly don't."

Bravo, Gene Jacobson!

RIP, Savita Halappanavar. We'll never forget you. And we'll fight to see your cruel, sadistic murderers brought to justice! (or at least sign every petition available...)

Arielle S (313)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 11:50 am
I've never been a fan of the Catholic Church with all its Vatican riches and royal robes, etc. while it tells the poor that God wants them to give more to the church. Their rules are not the rules of any god but the rules of men who want control and power. If the Catholic church dies out, so be it.
And thank you, PeasantDiva for sharing Gene's wise words.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 1:18 pm
Yes, Gene is one of the brightest, most perceptive, and most articulate posters on Care2. Thank you for re-posting.

This quote in the story, from Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute, just killed me: "abortion is not part of best medical practise. It is medieval medicine."

No, Niamh Ui Bhriain, abortion is not medieval medicine. Bleeding is medieval medicine. Modern abortion is indeed part of best medical practise. You are the one who is medieval.

Kit B (276)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 1:44 pm

Yes, Joanne but I think it was correct to leave that quote in the article. It does in fact give an open window to those who condemn even in the light of the death of Savita Halappanavar. Niamh Ui Bhrianin is expressing his view that the death of the mother and child is better than the death of a non-viable fetus.

Marie Therese Hanulak (30)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 2:08 pm
Those brain dead pro-lifers are probably saying that it was god's will that she died when in actuality it was their will that made her die.
As long as their ideology is imposed, they couldn't care less how many women die.

Susanne R (236)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 2:27 pm
I was raised a Roman Catholic but turned my back on the Catholic church many years ago. To this day, it still has the power to make me feel very ashamed. Two people died instead of one. How can that be justified?

patrica and edw jones (190)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 4:37 pm
The Irish Catholics are way behind when it comes to decisions like this one. They would rather a woman die than help her in time of need. Cathollicism needs to institute major changes in the way it thinks and acts. Allow priests to marry, stop encouraging poor people to need, stop tithing the poor masses - in fact show some bloody humanity for a change........who knows maybe it will become a religion for the people - not one controlled by the Pope. It might also put an end to the continuing child abuse it engenders amongst the priesthood.

Kit B (276)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 4:51 pm

The Catholic Church is among one of the largest corporations on the planet. They consider the people of far less importance than their brand of religious mental entrapment.

Ray Shaw (13)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 5:00 pm
The Catholic church should be scrapped. It is 2012ad, not 2012bc. Abortion is every womans right now and forevermore. Priests in skirts have no right to tell women how to behave.

Gloria H (88)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 7:42 pm
This also smacks of racism. She wasn't white. Anyone see a connection there?

Ray M (0)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 9:08 pm
The rigid Catholic church has blood on their hands. Shame on them and the MEN instituting such ridiculous rules and shame on Ireland for abiding by these archaic laws. They're as bad as the Taliban.

Jane Mckenzie (20)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 12:35 am
How sorry I am for this poor woman and her family. I know this is a deeply personal issue but surely the medical professiion needs nto face up to these challenges and reach a more compassionate solution. It is not just about the word of law - attitudes are what will change or prevent laws being used.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 3:44 am
Gloria H brings up a point I hadn't thought of. Maybe... But no, they would have stuck to their ideology, I fear, whoever the suffering woman had been, whatever her background.

The Church in Ireland has done such harm, when you think of the horrific child abuse scandal that 'broke' in Ireland in 2009 with the publication of the findings of the government-mandated 'Ryan Commission' inquiry* that spent 9 years investigating child abuse from 1936 to 2000 at Catholic-Church-run residential, industrial and reform schools, or the infamous Catholic-Church-run Magdalene Laundries, where supposedly 'fallen' or 'wayward' young girls were sent away to become slaves, condemned to confinement & hard labor for years, as one might be indefinitely imprisoned without trial or committed to an asylum with no power to get oneself released!

(* Ireland’s High Court Justice Sean Ryan unveiled a 2,600-page final report of Ireland's Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse, which is based on testimony from thousands of former students and officials from more than 250 church-run institutions. The nine-year investigation into Ireland's Roman Catholic-run institutions says priests and nuns terrorized thousands of boys and girls in workhouse-style schools for decades, and government inspectors failed to stop the chronic beatings, rapes and humiliation.)

It is amazing that despite these terrible abuses which have now been well publicized, Catholic ideology still rules many mentalities there.

Yet, despite the backward ideology of the Catholic Church that everyone on this thread seems unanimous in condemning, let's not forget one very positive, contemporary doctrine that has come out of the Catholic Church: Liberation Theology, the movement against social injustice & poverty started by Central & South American priests. Preaching this doctrine and putting it into practice cost at least one of its great advocates his life: Óscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador, was assassinated in 1980.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 3:59 am
News on the case from an article in yesterday's Guardian 'Change your abortion law to save lives' grieving father tells Irish PM:

" .../...

Mr Yalagi also says he will take legal action against the hospital to try to prevent future acts of "inhumanity". He and his wife, Akkamahadevi, expressed fury at the way in which Savita Halappanavar, 31, had been treated and revealed that no one from the hospital nor the Irish government had been in touch to express any remorse for the death of their only daughter. "I want to take legal action against them over the inhumane way they treated my daughter," said Mr Yalagi, speaking at his home in the southern Indian town of Belgaum.

Mrs Halappanavar died in agony at University Hospital Galway after doctors refused her pleas to abort her miscarried baby and told her that Ireland was a Catholic country and that she had to abide by its laws on abortion.

Her family say their only solace is that her husband was able to tell her, moments before she was rushed into intensive care, that she had been carrying a baby girl – which had been her greatest desire.

.../... "

Reading this article has made me feel to the point of tears the grief of her parents and the great injustice that those doctors committed when they let her die.

Anthony Hilbert (6)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 5:06 am
I do think Gloria had a point. I started to think that when I read of the doctors' comment that "Ireland is a Catholic country." I could almost hear the rest of the sentence: "...and if you don't like it, go back where you came from."
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