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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #1
belfastuniguy
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Woman dies after abortion request 'refused'

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The death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant is the subject of two investigations at University Hospital Galway in the Republic of Ireland.

Savita Halappanavar's family said she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying.

Her family claimed it was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat. She died on 28 October.

An autopsy carried out two days later found she had died from septicaemia.

Ms Halappanavar, who was 31, was a dentist.

Her husband, Praveen, told the Irish Times that medical staff said his wife could not have an abortion because Ireland was a Catholic country and the foetus was still alive.
Substantial risk

University Hospital Galway is to carry out an internal investigation. It said it could not comment on individual cases but would be cooperating fully with the coroner's inquest into Ms Halappanavar's death.

The Health Service Executive has launched a separate investigation.

Abortion is illegal in the Republic except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother.

The Irish government in January established a 14-member expert group to make recommendations based on a 2010 European Court of Human Rights judgment that the state failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother's life was at risk.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the group was due to report back to the Minister for Health James Reilly shortly.

"The minister will consider the group's report and subsequently submit it to government," the spokesperson said.
Funeral

Ms Halappanavar and her husband, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, are originally from India.

Mr Halappanavar is still in India after accompanying his wife's body there for her funeral.

He told the Irish Times: "Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby.

"When the consultant came on the ward rounds on Monday morning, Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy.

"The consultant said, 'As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can't do anything'."

The Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group said it extended its sympathies to Ms Halappanavar's family.

In a statement the group said its inquiry into Ms Halappanavar's death had not started yet because the hospital was waiting to consult with the family.

"In general in relation to media enquiries about issues where there may be onward legal action, we must reserve our position on what action we may take if assertions about a patient's care are published and we cannot speak for individual doctors or other medical professionals if a report were to name or identify any," it said.
Absolutely disgraceful!

The abortion laws in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are utterly illogical and in need of reform. It seems, though hardly surprising, pro-life and anti-abortion groups have been completely silent on this case......go figure!
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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by belfastuniguy View Post
Absolutely disgraceful!

The abortion laws in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are utterly illogical and in need of reform. It seems, though hardly surprising, pro-life and anti-abortion groups have been completely silent on this case......go figure!
Ah, you beat me to it - I was just about to post this very same story into a thread!

This story is completely disgusting and fills me with shame. I hope all of those politicians in the Oireachtas who have refused to legislate for the X Case are proud of themselves, they have the death of this woman (and more, I'm sure) on their hands now. Regardless of one's position on abortion, to deny this woman one achieved nothing but her death.

I wonder if the pro-lifer groups will classify her death as 'murder' like they do with abortion. I agree totally with you Belfastuniguy, abortion laws need reform regardless - simply shipping the problem off to Britain is a joke and makes what is already a traumatising experience for a woman much worse.

RIP Savita Halappanavar.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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I'm equally furious and I hope the hospital is made to pay substantial compensation and the doctors involved disciplined and struck off. A ''Catholic country'' indeed....!

The current state of abortion laws on both sides of the border are nothing short of medieval and the result of religious zealotry. In Northern Ireland we have the Free Presbyterian Health Minister of Northern Ireland not wanting to reform abortion laws, calling in the police when Marie Stoops opened a clinic and maintaining the ban on gays donating blood. While south of the border we have a parliament and senate sitting on their hands while women are dying in hospitals or spending thousands and enduring a painful journey to travel to Britain.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 09:53 PM   #4
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It just goes to show that despite all of the progress in recent years, this is still a very backward country in some ways. I'm absolutely furious hearing this story along with countless others and it makes me sick to the pit of my stomach. I suppose what do we expect in a country where the state broadcaster still inflicts 'the angelus' every day on all of it's viewers? It's the politicians however that disgust me most of all, refusing to change and bring in new laws when society demands it. This is supposed to be a republic after all and religion should have absolutely no input into how the state operates. Everyone should take to the streets over this and demand change.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 10:54 PM   #5
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It's all the more damaging to the government as the European court has ruled the current policy as a breach of human rights. I doubt they'll be pleased a woman has now died as a result of inaction.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:19 PM   #6
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Personally I've lost all respect for this government, and even the sight of some of them fills me with revulsion. Maybe finally this will spur them into action on this issue, but only after the utter embarrassment of the negative international media attention that this will bring. They are completely out of touch.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 01:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Viking74 View Post
Personally I've lost all respect for this government, and even the sight of some of them fills me with revulsion. Maybe finally this will spur them into action on this issue, but only after the utter embarrassment of the negative international media attention that this will bring. They are completely out of touch.

It's a horrible story but...


Stable government is essential if economic recovery is to be sustained. That is the number one priority. It's too risky given it's a FG/Lab government to touch abortion for the moment in terms of a referendum. FG has some very right wing TD's embedded within. Equally Labour has it's fair share of looney leftists in it's ranks. They would not meet eye to eye on abortion to put it lightly.

I would be against legislating now but maybe a year or two down the road...
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odlum833

It's a horrible story but...

Stable government is essential if economic recovery is to be sustained. That is the number one priority. It's too risky given it's a FG/Lab government to touch abortion for the moment in terms of a referendum. FG has some very right wing TD's embedded within. Equally Labour has it's fair share of looney leftists in it's ranks. They would not meet eye to eye on abortion to put it lightly.

I would be against legislating now but maybe a year or two down the road...
Well that's all and well. Of course in that time hundreds of Irish women will be denied a basic human right and forced to travel abroad because people like you have no concept of what it means to be a woman facing such a choice and thus don't care.

Wonder how many dead women it'll take Odlum......

It's a horrible story but...you're just as much of a disgrace as the politicians.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:20 AM   #9
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You can be judgemental all you like. I already said I support the right to choose. Mark my words there will be no legislation on abortion in the immediate future because unfortunately there are issues of more immediate concern for the country as a whole. When they are sorted out then the government can tare itself apart in debates over this and the country can legislate for abortion.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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I'm not so sure that there won't be legislation on abortion any time soon. Before this tragedy I would have agreed (even with this 'expert report'), but now there is clear public fury that circumstances such as this are allowed to continue despite being against what the public voted for in several referenda since 1992 and also the fact that the Oireachtas has effectively been in contempt of court for 20 years for failing to abide by a Supreme Court ruling. Plus, legislating for this kind of circumstance is not controversial in the slightest (nowadays; I think there was a poll on the issue a while back where 80% of voters would support changes in the law to cover the X Case).

It's a horrible thing to say, but perhaps the death of this woman will finally mean proper reform of abortion laws, even if it's just legislating and clarifying the X Case.
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Old November 15th, 2012, 11:05 PM   #11
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Firstly, what an awful and preventable tragedy! My heart goes out to her husband and family.

Secondly, some of the comments above illustrate why politicians ignore this issue....its extremely emotional.

I take it all of us are young and for the most part urban dwellers. If you exclude us, most other people are anti abortion...including my parents.

Any politicians who try to legislate for Abortion will receive scant thanks and then be promptly forgotten by the Pro-Choice voter. On the other hand, anti-Abortion voters will remember for the rest of their lives. Just look at the childrens referendum!

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Old November 16th, 2012, 02:14 AM   #12
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Bet the ambassador to India probably wishes he did not have to deal with this. Looks like a lot of damage may have been done to our reputation there. There is some hard hitting stuff from Indian tv on youtube particularly CNN.


Quote:
Outrage in India over death of woman denied abortion in Ireland






November 15, 2012, 1:42 p.m.


Outrage over the death of an Indian woman denied an abortion in Ireland resounded in her home country this week, as politicians and her grieving parents demanded changes in Irish laws.

"We should lodge a very strong protest with the Irish authorities as they are responsible for committing a crime which resulted in loss of a human life," politician Brinda Karat told the Press Trust of India. “They preferred to sacrifice the young woman's life rather than to do something which [would] have gone against their religious belief."

Savita Halappanavar died from blood poisoning weeks ago in a Galway hospital after being repeatedly refused an abortion, her husband told the Irish Times in an article published this week.

Doctors had told her that her child would not survive, but wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy even as Halappanavar, resigned to losing her baby, pleaded for the procedure to end her pain, her husband said. He said hospital staffers told them an abortion was impossible because Ireland is a Catholic country.

After the fetus died and was surgically removed, Halappanavar passed away as well. Her death is now under investigation by the hospital and the national body overseeing Irish healthcare.

As vigils and protests erupted in Ireland, the story also ignited a furor in India, where Halappanavar and her husband were originally from. One news website headlined its story, “Ireland Murders Pregnant Indian Dentist.” Indian television stations ran interviews with her bereaved parents, who demanded an international investigation.

“In an attempt to save a 4-month-old fetus they killed my 30-year-old daughter,” her mother, A. Mahadevi, told local stations, the Associated Press reported. “How is that fair, you tell me?”
Halappanavar was actually 31 at the time of her death, the Associated Press reported. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs called her death “a matter of concern” and said its embassy in Dublin was closely following the matter.

Abortions to save the life of the woman are supposed to be allowed in Ireland: Though the procedure is banned under the Irish constitution, its highest court ruled decades ago to allow abortion when the woman is in jeopardy.

But that 1992 ruling has never been translated into clear regulations, leaving it in limbo. Fearful of losing their jobs or being sent to jail, many Irish doctors have shied from performing any abortions, even when the baby is already bound to perish, activists complain. Thousands of Irish women are estimated to travel to nearby England annually to terminate pregnancies.
The European Court of Human Rights prodded Ireland to clear up the confusion in its laws nearly two years ago, ruling it had violated European Union law by endangering women. Government officials say they are now reviewing an expert report on altering its abortion laws, but opposition lawmakers and other critics say Ireland has already stalled too long.

"The insanity of the Irish situation couldn't be better illustrated than by this case," said Johanna Westeson, Europe regional director for the Center for Reproductive Rights. "If it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable that such procrastination is going on."

Anti-abortion activists and writers have argued that the case was an aberration from Irish law, not an example of it.

"Normal medical practice in Ireland was not followed after a grossly misplaced application to her case ... of a heretical misreading of Catholic moral law,"
William Oddie wrote in the Catholic Herald. "These tragic deaths cannot justify the replacement of the world’s most civilized abortion law by the pro-death laws now almost universal throughout Europe."

http://www.latimes.com/news/world/wo...,3031709.story
Here is a (balanced) debate on Indian television from yesterday

http://www.ndtv.com/video/player/news/fromndtv/254933

Clearly there is a worrying reputational issue here.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:27 AM   #13
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Indian government to "intervene" due to rising protests

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ir...sources-293036


I guess India is a pure society free of such moral issues.

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"They have to change the rules for us, we are Hindus, not Christians," the distraught mother said.
Now, fair enough it's her mother and she is obviously heart broken. But is she seriously suggesting that every religion should be treated according to that religion in law!? Well then I guess a good old fundamentalist Muslim beheading would become legal or a Mormon might have an issue with abortion. Free for all.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #14
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This has really made me ashamed and embarrassed to be Irish. The f*cking holy joes in this country disgust me. How dare people inflict their ridiculous and archaic beliefs on other people. People should be voting more young people into the Dail. We need a complete clear out of all of these dinosaurs. Everyone should personally email their local TD on this and embarrass them into dragging these medieval laws into the 21st century.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odlum833
Indian government to "intervene" due to rising protests

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/ir...sources-293036

I guess India is a pure society free of such moral issues.

Now, fair enough it's her mother and she is obviously heart broken. But is she seriously suggesting that every religion should be treated according to that religion in law!? Well then I guess a good old fundamentalist Muslim beheading would become legal or a Mormon might have an issue with abortion. Free for all.
The wider issue is that religion should have no place in law whatsoever. That's one the benefits of a secular society. So no the law should account for your religion. It should ignore it and not make reference to it.

Had the law been wholly secular then these issues would not arise.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #16
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The wider issue is that religion should have no place in law whatsoever. That's one the benefits of a secular society. So no the law should account for your religion. It should ignore it and not make reference to it.

Had the law been wholly secular then these issues would not arise.
To be fair, the law is entirely secular in the technical sense. No where does any law to do with abortion (or the lack thereof) in Ireland mention religion. Certainly, it has been influenced by religion, but doesn't distinguish based upon religious belief or lack thereof.

I don't blame the Catholic Church (as much as I have no time for them) or any other religion for the confusion regarding abortion in Ireland, they basically 'lost' their case in 1992 (with the X Case and subsequent referenda). I blame the politicians who have refused to do what they are constitutionally required to do and the electorate who have failed to hold them to account over it.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 12:24 PM   #17
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The law is secular but the interpretation wasn't and it wasn't because of the legacy of Catholic dominance in Irish political, social and cultural life.

Secular politics is a new thing and that creates difficulty. The church as some blame in the current situation of lacking guidelines but the majority of the blame rests with the parliament and those that have not held them accountable, I agree on that issue.


Tragically it has taken the death of an intelligent mother-to-be to force the hand of the government and speed up guideline clarity. It really should have been sorted a long time ago. It also seems the death has brought the lack of guidelines in NI into the sphere, though of course we have a health minister that doesn't understand the meaning of the word secular.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:32 PM   #18
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I agree with the above posts. When Religion is mixed with Science and Medicine, the results have historically always been bad.

I am a bit conflicted about the reportage in the Indian media. On one hand I fully understand how they would be disgusted at one of their citizens dieing in such terrible circumstances. We would feel the exact same if an Irish woman was killed in a foreign hospital. And I am disgusted that Catholic Dogma is yet again tarnishing Irelands international reputation.

On the other hand, can India really stand on any high moral ground when it comes to mortality rates, healthcare, womens rights and equality?!

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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Viking74 View Post
This has really made me ashamed and embarrassed to be Irish. The f*cking holy joes in this country disgust me. How dare people inflict their ridiculous and archaic beliefs on other people. People should be voting more young people into the Dail. We need a complete clear out of all of these dinosaurs. Everyone should personally email their local TD on this and embarrass them into dragging these medieval laws into the 21st century.
Viking, I agree with your sentiments. But you are mistaken if you believe that all young people are pro-choice.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #20
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On the other hand, can India really stand on any high moral ground when it comes to mortality rates, healthcare, womens rights and equality?!

C

India actually has a good record when it comes to the rights of women enshrined in law. The are afforded equality under the Indian constitution and lets remember they have had the longest serving female prime minster in history and a female president.

Secondly, they are still a very poor country, mortality is an issue because of the poverty and providing world class healthcare to over 1.2 billion people is rather complicated and incredibly expensive. So that's not exactly something you can use to bash them with.
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