Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.
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 foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
This was a travesty and makes me ashamed of my government. Ireland is a country in the middle of a strange transition from a rulein which much of its policy remains heavily influenced by catholic doctrine to a country where secular legislation is being passed more and more.
14 years ago Divorce passed by 0.6%, a miniscule margin for a time where divorce was the norm in most western countries. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1993 however we now find ourselves with a population showing up to 74% in favour according to recent poles and yet still abortion remains the most contentious issue of all with the population split amongst all age groups.
Even allowing legislation for abortion when the mothers life is in clear danger incites bitter debate and protest and the guidelines for medical professionals continues to be in limbo, an oversight that has caused the life of this poor woman. Hundreds of medical professionals last month convened and declared that abortion to save the mothers life was never necessary, contrary to reality and the very real and heartbreaking cases that contradict their ruling.
Perhaps a small amount of solace can be gained that perhaps Savitas untimely death may spark the outrage needed to ensure that this never occurs again and force our cowardly government to stop hiding behind the couch and face the facts.