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Woman dies after being denied abortion

Septicaemia death after miscarriage treatment refusal.
Scott Dunlop

Pic: Shutterstock

After complaining of back pain, Savita Halappanavar, 31, was found by Irish doctors to be miscarrying her foetus of 17 weeks- a week later Halappanavar was dead of septicaemia.  Doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion while the foetus still had a heartbeat, telling her that “this [Ireland] is a Catholic country”, according to the Irish Times.

Here’s the timeline:

  • 21 October: Savita, a dentist, is diagnosed as miscarrying her 17-week-old foetus after experiencing back pain.
  • Over the next three days, and in agony, Savita begged doctors to terminate the pregnancy, according to her husband.
  • She was refused a termination while the foetal heartbeat was present, being given as a reason that “This [Ireland] is a Catholic country”.
  • Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but was told there was nothing they could do, as it “was the law”.
  • After collapsing, she was put on antibiotics after being so violently ill that she was shaking and vomiting.
  • Following the refusal, she spent a further 2.5 days in agony before the foetal heartbeat ceased.
  • The dead foetus was removed; Savita was moved to an intensive care ward where, three days later, she succumbed to septicaemia.

Savita’s husband has since returned to India, and the hospital has instigated an investigation into his late wife's death.

Critics have spoken out against what they’re saying is a senseless death as a result of the cruel application of laws which don’t take into account the health of the expectant mother, as well as questioning a woman’s rights over her own body.

If you were told you were miscarrying and you were in pain, would you ask for an abortion?
Read more on: religion  |  miscarriage  |  abortion


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