Irish women’s rights after death of Savita Halappanavar

This video is called Protest at death of Savita, denied an abortion in Irish hospital.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Abortion ban reforms fail to impress pro-choice activists

Wednesday 19 December 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Irish pro-choice campaigners gave a cautious welcome to moves toward reform of the abortion ban today – but warned that government proposals did not go far enough.

Health Minister James Reilly said on Tuesday that the government would have a Bill before the Dail by Easter which would allow women to receive abortions if a continued pregnancy threatened their lives, including from their own threats to commit suicide if denied one.

The Enda Kenny administration promised action on abortion following the October death of Savita Halappanavar, who died from blood poisoning and organ failure after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy because her 17-week-old foetus had a heartbeat.

Mr Kenny said the government was determined to push through its legislation and TDs who vote against would risk expulsion from his right-wing Fine Gael party.

About a dozen have indicated that they would vote against any move to ease access to abortion under any circumstances, while the country’s powerful Catholic church has urged the government to exclude the threat of suicide as grounds for granting abortion – which would effectively leave the law as it stands.

But critics said the proposed Bill – which would mark the first time Irish TDs hold a vote on abortion – was merely a long-overdue legislative recognition of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling on the case of a 14-year-old girl who was threatening to kill herself if forced to bear the child of a man who had raped her.

Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) chairwoman Lynda Walker said the government’s proposal was just “one small step on the road to providing women with the reproductive services they require” and was “the very least that can be offered to women in any civilised society.”

The CPI called for the repeal of the 1861 Offence Against the Persons Act which bans abortion and an investigation into the number of deaths and complications that have occurred in the republic in circumstances related to abortion law.

The parents of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion in Ireland, want the amended abortion law to be named after their daughter: here.

Update June 2013: here.

The fate of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia shortly after she was refused an abortion, has drawn attention to Ireland’s reactionary abortion laws: here.

24 thoughts on “Irish women’s rights after death of Savita Halappanavar

  1. Irish inquest rules on Savita’s ‘barbaric’ death

    Savita Halappanavar died because of “medical misadventure”, an inquest jury in Ireland has ruled unanimously.

    She was repeatedly denied a life-saving abortion in Galway last October because, as one midwife told her, “Ireland is a Catholic country”.

    The inquest concluded that Savita died of sepsis, e-coli and miscarriage. Her husband Praveen said she was treated in a “horrendous, barbaric and inhumane” way and “she was just left there to die”.

    Savita had been told that her foetus was unviable. Yet she was refused an abortion because it still had a heartbeat.

    Obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan told the inquest that Savita would have lived if she been given a termination during her first three days in hospital.

    But he said this would not have been granted because there wasn’t a “real and substantial risk to her life at that stage”.

    The jury made nine recommendations. A key one is that the Irish Medical Council should clarify when doctors can intervene to save a pregnant woman’s life.

    The verdict will put more pressure on the Irish coalition government to change abortion law. But it’s unlikely that any change will allow women to access abortion unless their life is at risk.

    And Savita’s case shows that refusing to grant an abortion until a woman’s life is deemed to be “at risk” can lead to women dying.


  2. Cardinal O’Malley snubs Kenny visit

    US: Boston’s Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean O’Malley boycotted commencement ceremonies at Boston College today because Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny was speaking there.

    Cardinal O’Malley objects to Mr Kenny’s support for legislation that he said would permit abortion in Ireland.

    Mr Kenny said the Bill clarifies when a doctor can perform an abortion to save a woman’s life.


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