Showing posts with label Savita Halappanavar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Savita Halappanavar. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2012


 As things stand now, it is very risky to be pregnant in Ireland, for, if anything happens to the mother that requires an abortion to save her life both the baby and mother are deprived of any medical protection. The tragic death of Savita Halappanavar (31), a Dentist in Galway, Ireland indicates that. She was admitted in the University Hospital, Galway on the 21st of October with complaints of back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and was miscarrying at the time of Hospital admission itself. In any civilized hospital the Doctors would not think twice to remove the fetus immediately and save the mother.

The Doctors Savita did not do so saying that the fetus had heart-beats. Savita’s condition worsened day by day. Her husband, an engineer at Boston scientific in Galway, said that she had pleaded with the doctors several times to terminate the pregnancy. The doctors waited till the heartbeats of fetus stopped to operate on her. It was too late by then and she died on the 28th October from Septicemia or infection to the internal organs from  blood.

The Galway city has a nick name as ‘city of Tribes’ but even the tribal people would not allow a young woman to die a slow painful death while all remedies were at hand.

In Ireland the life of pregnant woman and the fetus have equal right for life meaning that the usual medical practice of giving priority to save the mother’s life at times of any complication is not possible there and surgery to save mother cannot be done until and unless the fetus is dead inside the mother’s womb. If the fetus was found to have been removed from the womb while it had even a faint beat the attending doctor is liable to be punished for life imprisonment and fearing the punishment the doctors never take any risk.

 It was on her 2nd visit to the hospital that she was admitted there. On the first day when she went there with back pain and a general uneasiness related to pregnancy the doctor prescribed some medicines which gave no relief to her discomfort.  Her parents were with her at that time and they returned to India while she was in hospital unsuspecting any danger.

The doctors attending her could do nothing to her though they knew immediate removal of fetus was the only hope in her case. No one was dare enough to save her life and explain later.

There is a precedent of Supreme Court allowing a teenage girl who got pregnant in a rape incident to go abroad for abortion in consideration of  her suicidal tendency. It was a daring judgement considering the Catholic resistance against abortion. However it did not follow  any amendments to the relevant Laws. In Savita’s case, if her life could be saved by timely operation the judgement would have helped the doctors if they were able to prove in the court that Savita’s life was in danger. The doctors, however, did not go at such length.

The rules 58 & 59 of the 18th Century ‘ offences against person Act “ which stipulates the equal status of fetus with mother, prevailed in the University Hospital  leading to her death.

 However strict the abortion law, it does not prevent the Irish women from terminating pregnancy. They cross the border to England and terminate pregnancy there and get back. It is a common practice there and the authorities are also aware of it. In the case of Savita, she was too sick to do something like that by the time doctors refused to do  abortion,

The majority of people in Ireland are against the outdated law but there is a minority ‘Pro life’ men who have become fundamentalists in nature for the anti-abortion cause and all are afraid of them. About 70 % of people are in favour of abortion as practiced all over the world in the matter. However the minority fundamentalists rule the majority there. The ruling parties are afraid to disobey the Church.

The Indian External affairs Minister informed the Irish Ambassador about India's concern in the matter. The case is under inquiry in Ireland and the Government says that it would take several weeks to finish the inquiry and still more weeks to reach in a decision.  There are some hue and cry over the issue now both inside and outside Ireland, but it may die down by the time the inquiry completes and Ireland is destined  to continue with its archaic laws.

Images from Google