Indian Parents Blame Irish Abortion Laws for Daughter’s Death

Posted November 15th, 2012 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The parents of an Indian woman who died last month in an Irish hospital after being denied an abortion are criticizing Ireland's abortion laws.

Savita Halappanavar, who lived in Galway in western Ireland, was 17 weeks pregnant when she suffered severe pain as a result of a miscarriage. Doctors allegedly refused her demand for an abortion, saying Ireland is a Catholic country and that they could not do anything as long as there was a fetal heartbeat.

Halappanavar died of blood poisoning a week after she was admitted to a hospital and three days after the death of the fetus she was carrying.

On Thursday, the 31-year old's father, Andanappa Yalagi, told reporters in the southern Indian city of Belgaum that a combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter's death.

Ireland's constitution bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found it should be legal when it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

Indian officials and Halappanavar's family members say they are awaiting the results of at least two separate investigations into her death.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, said that “we have received a letter from the medical director of the hospital saying that they have conducted an internal investigation, so I am just waiting for that and then if no adequate measures are being taken, then we will look into it.”

An Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday the death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern.

Halappanavar's mother told reporters that Irish authorities should have considered that fact that her daughter was a Hindu and not a member of the Catholic faith. She said Thursday, “now it is time for our Foreign Ministry to take this matter up with the government of Ireland.”

Opposition lawmakers are urging Ireland's government to introduce legislation to make abortion legal when the mother's life is threatened.