Thousands call for change to abortion legislation
Thousands of people took part in a sit-down protest outside Dáil Eireann last night, following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway.
Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died from septicemia at University Hospital Galway after her baby miscarried. Her husband said she repeatedly asked for a termination when it became clear that the baby would not survive but was denied one because a foetal heart was still present. Two separate investigations are taking place into the incident.
The news has sparked renewed debate on the current status of abortion legislation in Ireland, with claims that immediate change is needed to prevent similar incidents in the future.
“This was an obstetric emergency, which should have been dealt with in a routine manner. Yet Irish doctors are restrained from making obvious medical decisions by a fear of potentially severe consequences,” said Rachel Donnelly of Galway Pro-Choice.
“As the European Court of Human Rights ruled, as long as the 1861 Act remains in place, alongside a complete political unwillingness to touch the issue, pregnant women will continue to be unsafe in this country.”
However, Senator Rónán Mullen has said while that Savita’s death was a “deeply tragic event”, the incident should not be used as an argument for legislating for the Supreme Court decision in the X Case.
“It’s regrettable that some people are seeking to use this tragedy as an argument for legislating for the Supreme Court decision in X. There is no legal impediment to offering all necessary medical treatment to pregnant women.
“Notwithstanding this tragedy, Ireland still ranks as one of the safest countries in the world for pregnant women. On the other hand, legislation for the X-case decision would, among other things, introduce abortion on a mental health ground that is unjustifiable on any reputable medical basis.”
A candlelit vigil in memory of Savita will take place in Galway on Saturday.