Protests In Ireland Over 31-Year-Old Woman Refused Medical Care During Miscarriage

Earlier this week, the world reacted to the news that a hospital in Ireland refused medical care to a woman during her miscarriage and she eventually died from blood poisoning. Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, began slowly and painfully miscarrying at 17 weeks into her pregnancy, but University Hospital Galway refused to terminate the pregnancy because a fetal heartbeat could still be detected. Halappanavar and her husband, who are both Indian and Hindu, repeatedly asked for an abortion but were told no because Ireland is “a Catholic country.” Within days, the fetus died inside Halappanavar and was removed, but it was too late; she died soon after at age 31 from blood poisoning and E.coli ESBL. 

In Ireland, abortion is banned in the constitution, but a 1992 court decision decided a woman has a legal right to an abortion if her life is at risk. It is unclear whether each doctor refused out of their own opposition to the procedure, or whether doctors were willing to terminate Halappanavar’a pregnancy but feared governmental repercussions. (University Hospital Galway is refusing to comment to the press, citing patient privacy.)  You can read the full details in this post.

The world has erupted in outrage at such a high-profile case of medical care being refused to a woman and cause her death. (Of course, this happens all the time in countries where we just don’t hear about it in the Western media.) On Thursday in India, the newspaper India Times ran the headline “Ireland murders pregnant Indian dentist”; India’s ambassador to Ireland has publicly said that Halappanavar would still be alive today had she been treated in India. Halappanavar’s mother has gone on Indian television to rail against the Irish government. “In an attempt to save a 4-month-old fetus they killed my … daughter. How is that fair you tell me?” Her mother said. “How many more cases will there be?”

Pro Choice Galway reached out to The Frisky with information about actions being taken in response. Information on how to contact Irish politicians can be found on the National Women’s Council of Ireland.  Thousands of people held a sit-down protest in Dublin earlier this week. Another protest was held in Cork today and tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) there will be a march held in Dublin. You can find more information at the link.

Feel free to share information regarding reactions to Savita Halappanavar’s death in the comments section or send them to my email for inclusion in Today’s Lady News.

[Irish Central]
[The Journal IE]
[Guardian UK]
[Guardian UK]

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