Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

'Savita can rest in peace if abortion laws are changed'

People gathered in Belfast city centre last night in memory of Savita Halappanava who was 17 weeks pregnant, and died at University Hospital Galway last month
Savita Halappanavar died after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia at a hospital in Galway last month (PA/Irish Times)

The devastated husband of Savita Halappanavar has spoken of his hopes his caring wife will rest in peace if the Republic's abortion laws are changed.

Her parents also added their voice to the growing international storm over regulations governing terminations in Ireland as they hit out at the laws they believe have cost them the life of their only daughter.



Amid growing pressure on the Government, her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer with Boston Scientific in Galway, praised the support he has received "from all over".



"My main objective is that they should change the law so it won't happen to someone else. I know Savita won't come back but I hope that she will rest in peace, you know, if they change the law," Mr Halappanavar said.



Mrs Halappanavar (31), originally from Belgaum in India, died from septicaemia a week after she began to miscarry and asked for a termination at University College Hospital in Galway.





Speaking from her home, her mother Akkamahadevi and her husband Andaneppa Sangappa Yalagi have been highly critical of the regulations.



"How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians," her mother said.



Her husband said he was looking forward to seeing the outcome of the internal hospital investigation and HSE inquiry.



"We are all curious really about what exactly went wrong and then maybe looking at putting some pressure to change the regulations," he said.



Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at the hospital on October 21 complaining of back pain. The couple were informed the baby she was expecting would not survive.



However, it was only on Wednesday, October 24, that the foetal heartbeat stopped and the foetus was removed.



Mrs Halappanavar's condition deteriorated and she died from septicaemia at 1.10am on Sunday, October 28.



Her husband recalled that she asked medics to carry out a medical abortion or induce her but were told it was a Catholic country and against regulations.



"They never mentioned anything about a risk to Savita until she was taken to ICU, all they ever focused on was the baby," her husband told the Irish Independent.



"Basically everyone back home here (in India), her family and friends, everyone can't believe it in the 21st Century in a country like Ireland.



"The question they keep asking is why did they not straight away terminate her the minute they came to know that the baby won't survive. That is the question I have been asked again and again and again. I don't have the answer so they have to change that."



Mr Halappanavar also revealed she had planned to call her baby girl 'Prasa'.



One of her two brothers, Sanjeev Yalagi (32), a software engineer, spoke of his sister.



"She was a wonderful person. I'm saying this not just because she was my sister. She was a very wonderful person, she deserved to live," he said.



Her brother told how the family had believed Ireland would have more sophisticated medical treatment.



And he added that no one had contemplated such a scenario. "My sister had a belief it was a safe place to have a baby but it is very unfortunate that we came to know because of this law her life is gone. We believe even underdeveloped countries are more safe than Ireland."

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