ABOUT SAVITA HALAPPANAVAR’s DEMISE
Savita Halappanavar was a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died on 28 October 2012 due to complications of septic miscarriage at 17 weeks gestation, in Ireland. Halappanavar had requested for an abortion when the miscarriage took seven days to unfold and early in the process, it was clear that the miscarriage was inevitable. The medical team had denied their request as the medical team had not judged her life in danger.
By the time the medical team planned to administer misoprostol to induce delivery, the miscarriage completed before they were able to. The sepsis continued developing and she died of cardiac arrest caused by sepsis. Her death caused controversy both nationally and internationally leading to protest and marches.
THE LAW ”THEN”
The law in force at that time namely the offences against the person act 1861 stated that the act of abortion, where there was no immediate physiological threat to woman’s life to continue pregnancy was a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment.
Following a rule is now known in Ireland as X case – terminations are allowed under certain circumstances where the “pregnant woman’s life is at risk due to pregnancy, including the risk of suicide.” The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 was passed as the result of her death.
Halappanavar’s death made the values of the people of Ireland to sit up and take a note, who usually ignore the fact that Ireland is a little dot of backwardness. She did not die for the want of termination in a developing country but in 2the 1st century western Europe. Would an Irishwoman, brought up in a culture in which abortion is a dirty word and a shameful deed even have asked?
Sometimes it takes an outside element to show how utterly messed up the system is.
Savita Halappanavar’s death was a catalyst for the movement to repeal the eighth amendment, paving the way for a new legislation to allow for the termination of pregnancies in the predominantly Catholic community.
Women protesting against Northern Ireland’s anti-abortion laws and have taken what they say are illegal termination pills in front of police outside Belfast’s main building. In order to circumvent the country’s laws pills were delivered to protesters by a tiny robot controlled from the Netherlands. Officer’s seized the pills and attempted to remove one woman who openly took a tablet.
Northern Ireland is the last part of UK where abortion is illegal unless there are exceptional circumstances. In an earlier press release about the protest, the charities did not disclose whether the women were pregnant at the time they took the pills, which would mean they had broken Northern Irish law.
Prime Minister Theresa May has come under pressure to legislate for abortion in Northern Ireland as the Stormont assembly has been suspended for months.
Ireland’s health minister has said he will push forward with new abortion laws after the resounding referendum result overturned a 35-year ban on terminations. Simon Harris claimed that the process would be started once the Irish cabinet will meet to discuss draft legislation to allow terminations within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.
The result of votes in favour of abolishing the controversial eighth amendment to the constitution that gave equal legal rights to the lives of the foetus and the woman carrying it were as follows: 66.4% yes to 33.6% no.
We thereby hope the government will put in legislation, with sufficient financial support and recruitment to support the proposals. We also hope that there will be sufficient support and education put in place.