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Abortion In Ireland: Denial and Death

ABORTION, MEDIA
Gabrielle Vaughn | VenusBlogs Editor at Large


Robert Mackay, of The New York Times writes in his article, Vigils in Ireland for Indian Woman Who Died After Being Denied Abortion:

More than a thousand protesters rallied outside the Irish Parliament in Dublin on Wednesday night, calling on legislators to review Ireland’s strict anti-abortion laws, Irish radio reports. The protesters expressed outrage over the death of Savita Halappanavar, 31, an Indian dentist who died of an infection last month after doctors in the west of Ireland refused to abort her fetus during a miscarriage that lasted three days.

According to an Irish Times report:

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, 34, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination. This was refused, he says, because the fetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “This is a Catholic country.”

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the fetal heartbeat stopped.

Death of a Pregnant Woman Prompts Soul-Searching
Death of a Pregnant Woman Prompts Soul-Searching

Speaking by telephone from India, Mr. Halappanavar said in an audio interview with the newspaper that doctors informed the couple as soon as his wife was rushed to the hospital that she was having a miscarriage after 17 weeks of pregnancy. He explained:

Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said, “As long as there is a fetal heartbeat we can’t do anything.”

Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said, ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.

By the time the dead fetus was removed from Ms. Halappanavar’s womb, she was very sick, her husband said. Three days later she died of septicaemia.

Vigil for Savita Halappanavar
Vigil for Savita Halappanavar

The woman’s death prompted Niall Stanage, an Irish journalist in Washington, to remind readers of remarks by the poet and legislator W. B. Yeats to the Irish Senate in 1925, in which he warned that the Catholic majority in Ireland should not “force your theology upon persons who are not of your religion.”

Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, expressed regret for the woman’s death in an address to the Parliament on Wednesday and said that two investigations into the case were already in progress.

  • pm

    wow.