Ireland has opened a new investigation into the death of a woman denied an abortion of her dying foetus, as the government scrambled to stem criticism of its handling of an incident that polarised the overwhelmingly Catholic country.
Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year old dentist, was admitted to hospital in severe pain on October 21 and asked for a termination after doctors said her baby would not survive, according to husband Praveen.
But in a country with some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, surgeons would not remove the foetus until its heartbeat stopped days later.
Husband Praveen Halappanavar, who believes the delay contributed to the blood poisoning that killed his wife on October 28, has said he would not cooperate with an investigation already launched by the country’s health service because he did not believe it would be neutral.
Barbaric. They knew the baby could not survive, but they still did nothing, with the mother then dying.
Ireland’s abortion stance is enshrined in a 1983 constitutional amendment that intended to ban abortion in all circumstances. In 1992, when challenged in the “X-case” involving a 14-year-old rape victim, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was permitted when the woman’s life was at risk, including from suicide.
I understand that many Irish women just travel to Northern Ireland to get abortions.
Opposition party Sinn Fein introduced a motion to parliament on Wednesday calling for parliament to legislate on abortion, but it was rejected.
“Successive governments over the past 20 years have failed in respect of legislation. That failure is in large measure due to fear or cowardice,” said Mary Lou McDonald, vice president of Sinn Fein.
Not often I agree with Sinn Fein.