Miscarrying Woman Dies Completely Preventable Death Because Irish Hospital Refused Her an Abortion

11/14/2012 10:15 AM |

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31-year-old Savita Halappana died of septicemia on October 28th, for no medical reason other than the doctors treating her were legally unable to abort her fetus.

Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.

After the 31-year-old dentist was told that she was miscarrying, her husband reportedly said that she had asked for a medical termination a number of times over a three day period, during which she was in severe pain.

But he said these requests were denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: “This is a Catholic country.” [Guardian]

When asked by the BBC if he thought his wife would still be alive if the termination had been allowed, Mr Halappanavar said: “Of course, no doubt about it.”

He said Savita had been “on top of the world” before experiencing difficulties.

“It was her first baby, first pregnancy and you know she was on top of the world basically,” he said.

“She was so happy and everything was going well, she was so excited.

“On the Saturday night everything changed, she started experiencing back pain so we called into the hospital, the university hospital.”

He said she continued to experience pain and asked a consultant if she could be induced.

“They said unfortunately she can’t because it’s a Catholic country,” Mr Halappanavar said.

“Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her. [BBC]

So even though the fetus was dying, even though she asked for an abortion, and even though not giving her one created an incredibly medically dangerous situation (this writer compares the infection risk of an open cervix to that of an open head wound), she was denied the care she needed because of the dogma of a religion she did not even share. What an awful, senseless death.

What happened to Ms. Halappanavar is horrific, and I do not mean to generalize what happened to her and her family. But her situation illustrates the absolute disregard for human life that any hard-line “pro-life” stance takes. Abortion is absolutely an essential medical tool.