Video with thanks to Paula Geraghty of Trade Union TV.
 
 
STATEMENT - 22nd November 2012

For Release: Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s remarks in the Dáil were insensitive and an abuse of parliament.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s remarks in the Dáil today(21/11) were a gross and insensitive abuse of parliament. The inappropriate nature of directly addressing Savita’s grieving husband from the Dáil chamber cannot be emphasised enough.

Praveen Halappanavar’s refusal to cooperate with the HSE inquiry is completely understandable. Like Galway Pro-Choice, he believes that only a fully independent public inquiry has the ability to objectively investigate this matter. Mr Kenny’s attempt to persuade Mr Halappanavar to cooperate with the HSE was a shameful abuse of his position.

How Mr Kenny believes that it is acceptable to comment in the Dáil on the actions of a bereaved husband is inconceivable. Praveen feels that his wife’s death was avoidable. Acting through his solicitor is the most reasonable and sensible course of action.

Mr Kenny’s actions seem even more incredible in light of the fact that Savita’s family have received no personal apology or expression of condolences from any Government or HSE official.

The fact that the HSE are going ahead with the investigation without Mr Halappanavar’s consent is both impractical and yet another example of Government arrogance. Without Praveen’s co-operation the inquiry team will not have adequate access to the evidence they require. Furthermore, the credibility of any findings will be completely undermined by the dismissal of Praveen’s serious objections.

The Government defeat of Sinn Féin’s motion to immediately legislate for the X Case is shameful and disappointing. We have had twenty years to establish legal clarity on this issue, yet Labour and Fine Gael continue to hide behind a fifth expert group on the matter.

Galway Pro-Choice welcomes the reintroduction by United Left Alliance TD’s of the Medical Treatment (Termination Of Pregnancy In Case Of Risk To Life Of Pregnant Woman) Bill to legislate for the X Case. This is a real opportunity to improve the safety of pregnant women in Ireland. There is no justifiable reason for Labour and Fine Gael TD’s to vote against it.

Galway Pro-Choice is hosting a public meeting this evening on the immediate need to legislate for the X Case. It will take place at 7.30 pm, at the Harbour Hotel, New Docks Road, Galway City.

There will also be a national demonstration in Galway City on December 1st, leaving from the Spanish Arch at 2.00 pm.

For more information please contact: Galway Pro-Choice on 087 706 0715, Rachel Donnelly on 086 062 1503 or Sarah McCarthy on 085 7477 907

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As was made clear by Sarah McCarthy of Galway Pro Choice on last night’s Prime Time programme on RTE, Galway Pro Choice were approached by the friends of Savita Praveen Halapannavar on 3rd November 2012. They came to us before going public with her story. Their only wish was to try to make sure that what happened to Savita would never happen to another woman again in Ireland.

After an initial phone call on 3rd November from a friend of Savita and Praveen’s, Savita’s friends sent Galway Pro Choice an email containing more details of the case. A meeting between Galway Pro Choice and approximately ten of Savita’s friends then took place, during which they explained the facts of the case as they saw them. They believed that a termination may have saved Savita's life. They requested the assistance of Galway Pro Choice in deciding how to proceed.

Galway Pro Choice presented Savita’s friends with a number of options, including the option of not releasing the story at all. The option of releasing the story anonymously, without a name or place being mentioned, was also discussed. However, Savita’s friends and her husband Praveen felt that going fully public with the tragic story of Savita’s death was what they wanted to do in order to bring home to the public how Ireland's abortion laws can place pregnant women in danger. A phone call between Galway Pro Choice and Savita's husband Praveen, in India, also occurred, in which Praveen reiterated his desire to go public with the story.

Galway Pro Choice then put Praveen and his friends in touch with the Irish Times. We explicitly made clear to Praveen and his friends that if they were uncomfortable in any way, at any stage, with any of our activities they should just say so and we would immediately do what they wished. We have informed them in advance of all of our planned activities so far, and they have been supportive of all of them. Savita's friends were present at the candlelit vigil we held on Saturday in Galway, and expressed their amazement that anyone could say that we were 'taking advantage of' or 'hijacking' the tragedy of Savita's death.

Now that these facts have been made clear, any and all implications by anti-choice campaigners or politicians to the effect that Pro-Choice groups are taking advantage of this tragedy should stop. If they do not, they must be interpreted as deliberately misleading statements. As well as being false, they are offensive and potentially upsetting to Savita's family and friends.

Galway Pro Choice would also like to make the following points:

- We must legislate on the X Case immediately; Government statements that it will take months to get legal clarity are unacceptable.

- Minister for Health James Reilly must instigate a fully independent public inquiry now.

- The Expert Group Report should be released to the public immediately.

- The only way to safeguard the health of pregnant women in Ireland is to guarantee access to free, safe, and legal abortion for all women.

We will be holding a public meeting this Thursday, 22nd November, at 7:30pm in the Harbour Hotel in Galway on the urgent need to legislate for the X Case. Speakers include Clare Daly ULA TD; Mary Smith, a retired midwife and pro-choice activist, and Ailbhe Smyth, former Head of Women's Studies at University College Dublin, and women’s rights activist. Sarah McCarthy of Galway Pro-Choice will chair the meeting.

On Saturday, December 1st we will be hosting a national demonstration in Galway on the need to immediately legislate for the X Case. The demonstration will assemble at the Spanish Arch at 2pm.

For more information email us at prochoicegalway@gmail.com or call 0860621503 or 0877060715.