Belfast Telegraph

Savita’s parents back repeal of Eighth Amendment ahead of referendum

The Indian dentist died from septic shock after she denied an abortion as she miscarried because a foetal heartbeat was present.

The parents of an Indian dentist who died in Ireland after she was refused a termination have called for a yes vote in next week’s abortion referendum.

Savita Halappanavar suffered septic shock after she was denied the procedure while she was miscarrying because a foetal heartbeat was present. Her case sparked a landmark change in the law.

Her father Andanappa Yalagi said he strongly felt “that the younger daughters of Ireland should not have the fate of Savita”.

“I hope that people in Ireland will remember the fate of our daughter Savita on the day of the referendum and vote Yes so that what happened to us won’t happen to any families.

“And by doing this you will be paying a great debt to the departed soul.”

Mrs Halappanavar, who was 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to hospital in October 2012.

Her death, five days after she was refused a termination, sparked widespread public debate which eventually forced a controversial change in abortion legislation, allowing the procedure where a woman’s life was endangered.

Mr Yalagi added: “No family in future should have to undergo what we have gone through – the worry and sorrow that’s still persistent in our hearts even after some six years.

“The life that Savita had, she had a very long life to lead, but it was cut down mercilessly, dead.”

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Savita Halappanavar was refused a termination in an Irish hospital as she miscarried (The Irish Times/PA)

Several reports into the care Mrs Halappanavar received, particularly as her condition worsened, identified multiple shortcomings.

An inquest returned a verdict of medical misadventure while two major reports found medics in the Galway hospital missed several early opportunities to terminate her pregnancy on health grounds and unacceptable clinical practice.

On Friday Ireland goes to the polls for a referendum on repealing the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution which decrees that the life of baby and mother is equal.

In effect this ensures some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 allows for abortion when there is a real and substantial risk to a woman’s life – including the threat of suicide.

But it still prohibits termination in cases of rape, incest, inevitable miscarriage and fatal foetal abnormality.

Draft laws set to be enacted if the eighth amendment is repealed mean abortion would be freely available up to 12 weeks and in exceptional cases between 12 and 24.

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