Jude Collins

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The death of Savita Halappanavar

I don’t know all the detail of what happened  in the  Savita Halappanavar case, and I’d be fairly certain neither do you. What we do know is that this young woman was 17 weeks pregnant, that she died of septic shock in the course of a miscarriage, and that doctors stated they could not abort her pregnancy due to the current Irish laws. We also know that her husband said that doctors told her she couldn’t have an abortion because ‘this is a Catholic country’ and that her death prompted demonstrations by hundreds of people carrying placards saying ‘Ireland’s shame’ and ‘Our shame’.

To say this is an emotive case is to understate it. The grief which the woman’s husband must be feeling is unimaginable, and it’s hard, even though we’ve never met the man, not to share in some way in that grief. The Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has declared the law must be clarified. 

My response to the last item is that Eamon Gilmore should try to refrain from stating the obvious. Laws should be passed and/or clarified by people with cool heads, not those in a state of emotional agitation such as many are presently experiencing. As for ‘Ireland’s shame’ and ‘Our shame’,  include me out. None of us on the northern side of the border have any control over the state of the laws - and their consequences - south of the border. 

A  couple of other things. If you don’t believe Savita Halappanavar was carrying a human being, you should be calling for the doctors involved to  be struck off the register and jailed. If you believe Savita Halappanavar was carrying a human being, you must be wondering what Irish law says that when the mother’s life is at risk, an abortion must not be performed. 

The squalid temptation at present is for those who favour abortion on request to use the emotion generated by this desperate tragedy as a soapbox from which to further their cause. The facts of the case should be clearly established and the law clarified in a calm, detached manner. That done,  the people of the twenty-six counties - better still, of all 32 counties -  should be given a chance, by referendum, to decide  whether they wish abortion on demand/request to be made available.  Those who believe the foetus isn’t human will certainly vote for such availability. Those who believe the foetus is human will certainly vote against it. All the rest is useless hysteria. 


  1. I dont want to sound ignorant but this surely cant be the first time something like this has happened so why has it all come to a head now and not at a previus date.

  2. We must know d rules n regulations of d country before visiting.Any way what ever happened was not 2 be ......Let her soul rest in peace.

    1. Love SMS, how well do you know the rules and regulations of the Irish health service? Do you really think its to just let women die???????

  3. Hey Jude.

    Was it just me or did you also get the feeling that someone has an anti-church axe to grind? I think its journalism from a very small point and without many sources.

    The facts... a woman is dead.

    thats about it.

    We dont know anything more for sure. If the baby was not the source of the infection this woman would have died anyway. But because someone said 'catholic' then it becomes an international sensation. What bollocks.

    Yes, the Laws in the south are screwed up. The religious fundamentalists in the north are not going to make things any easier. They're all missing the one key issue here, especially since its mostly men championing the abortion=evil thing. It is not their body, it is no-one elses business but that of the mother. simple.

    I found this blog to be quite interesting reading: http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/did-irish-catholic-law-or-malpractice-kill-savita-halappanavar/

  4. Jude
    "If you believe Savita Halappanavar was carrying a human being, you must be wondering what Irish law says that when the mother’s life is at risk, an abortion must not be performed."
    I'm trying to figure out if you are, in favour of a law allowing for abortion if the woman's life is at risk.
    Perhaps you could express an opinion?

  5. http://thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.ie/2012/11/paper-doesnt-refuse-ink-as-my-dad-says.html This is an excellent post on how little we actually know about the Savita case, and how the timelines are confused in reporting in the The Irish Times.

    "This must never happen again" is all very well, but what exactly is the "This"?