|Protestors gather outside the Irish parliament in Dublin on Thursday. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, even in cases of rape, incest and severe deformity
Parents of Savita Halappanavar, who died after doctors in an Ireland hospital refused to abort her foetus on grounds that “this is a Catholic country”, have blamed Irish law against abortion and the negligence of hospital staff for her death.
Halappanavar, who was admitted to University Hospital Galway in western Ireland, died of septicaemia a week after miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
Her repeated requests for termination were rejected because of the presence of a foetal heartbeat. Halappanavar was reportedly told that Ireland being a Catholic country, her request for an abortion would not be entertained.
"The consultant said, 'As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can't do anything," her husband Praveen told Mirror from the Belgaum, Karnataka. Savita died of septicaemia, or blood poisoning, on October 28, a week after she was admitted. Her father, Andalappa Yalagi, on Thursday, blamed such archaic laws and the rigidity of the medical practitioners for his daugther's death.
Her mother, A Mahadevi, said the authorities should have considered saving her life above everything else. India's foreign ministry said that it would take up the issue with the Irish government once the twin enquiries instituted into the incident had submitted their reports.
Death sparks protests
Thousands gathered for a candle-lit vigil in Dublin on Thursday to demand that the government legislate to close a legal loophole that leaves it unclear when the threat to the life of a pregnant woman provides legal justification for an abortion.
The news of Halappanavar's death overnight sparked a wave of anger on Irish social media, with more than 50,000 people sharing the Irish Times's lead story on the issue .
‘From on top of the world to completely torn apart’
Adentist, Savita Halappanava had moved from Karnataka to Ireland with her husband Praveen -- an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway -- four years ago to start a new life together.
She had a job in Co Mayo area, and the pair lived in Galway city. They were so excited about the expected birth of their first child, which was due on March 20, that they had an early baby shower in recent weeks when Savita’s parents were visiting.
But their world began to fall apart, when her back pain worsened and she was forced to seek medical help at University Hospital Galway on the morning of Sunday October 21.
After routine tests the young mother- to-be was told everything was fine and the couple were sent home. But within an hour of returning, Halappanavar was positive something was wrong after using the bathroom.
“In the night, at around one o'clock, the nurse came running, as I was standing outside ICU,” her husband said. “She just told me to be brave, and she took me near Savita, and she said: ‘Will you be ok to be there, living her last minutes?’ “I said: ‘Yes, I want to’.
I was holding her hand, they were trying to pump her heart, there was a big team around. The doctor just told me they lost her.” He said he had gone from being ‘on top of the world’ to having his world torn apart in just days.