Savita Halappanavar - the latest
victim of Ireland's barbaric
Last month, Savita Halappanavar was admitted to hospital with severe pain. Doctors confirmed that she was miscarrying her wanted 17-week-old fetus. After a week of agony, during which Savita repeatedly asked doctors to provide a life-saving abortion, she died.
The facts of the case are clear-cut. The fetus, being only 17 weeks old, had no hope of survival outside the womb, and Savita's miscarriage was irreversible. Her cervix was already dilated and the amniotic fluid was leaking out. Nothing could be done to save the baby's life, but a medical abortion would almost certainly have saved Savita's.
But when Savita begged doctors to perform the life-saving procedure, they refused. The fetus still had a heartbeat, which led doctors at Galway University Hospital to prioritize its doomed existence above Savita's life. Savita was left in agony for 3 days until the fetal heartbeat stopped. By then, it was too late. Savita developed septicemia as a result of being left with an open cervix, which invites infection into the body, for three days. She died on 28th October 2012.
"This is a Catholic country," the consultant told Savita as she begged him to save her life. "As long as there is a fetal heartbeat we can't do anything."
Irish law allows abortion in cases where the mother's life is at risk, but sets no guidelines about the situations where it can be used. This lack of clarity leads to doctors refusing to act for fear of prosecution. The result is that women are left to die.
Saturday 17th November at 5pm in Eyre Square in Galway: candle-light vigil in honour of Savita. Facebook event page
Thursday 22nd November: public meeting in the Harbour Hotel Galway to discussion the need for clear abortion legislation. Facebook event page
Protests for a Change in Irish Abortion Law
Dublin Protest Tonight! There is a protest outside the Dail, Kildare Street, Dublin at 6pm tonight (Wed 14 November). Come along and demand the Irish government stops ignoring the need for abortion in Ireland. Facebook event page
Galway Protest Tonight! Protesters will gather in Eyre Square, Galway, tonight at 6.30pm. Facebook event page
How to Get Abortion In Ireland
Until the Irish government legislates on abortion, Irish women who need abortions have three options.
1. Travel to the UK for abortion - financial and other support is available from Abortion Support Network
2. Get abortion drugs from Women On Web to perform their own early medical abortion (up to 9 weeks of pregnancy)
3. Women who need abortions up to 9 weeks for health reasons (permitted under Northern Irish Law) can visit the Marie Stopes Belfast Clinic.