The father of the late Savita Halappanavar has made a public appeal to the Government to hold a public inquiry into his daughter’s death.
Andanappa Yalagi, speaking to a freelance video journalist at the family home in the Srinigar neighbourhood of Belgaum, Karnataka, in southwest India, said he was not happy with progress so far in finding out why his daughter died in Galway University Hospital on October 28th.
“We would like to appeal to the Irish Government to please consider funding a public inquiry. We are not happy with the progress made so far. We all don’t understand the HSE investigation. So once again I ask the Irish Government to consider funding a public inquiry.”
The parents of Ms Halappanavar (31) also said in an interview with the Times of India that they hoped her death might lead to legislative change that could save other people’s daughters in the future.
Full article by Kitty Holland here
FINE Gael is tearing itself apart over the threat of suicide being grounds for abortion – as a shadow is cast over the expert advice given to the Government on the issue.
A respected member of the expert group on abortion resigned last summer, but her departure was never disclosed by Health Minister James Reilly.
A leading family doctors' representative, Dr Ailis Ni Riain, was one of two GPs on the expert group, but she left the group in unexplained circumstances in May. Dr Ni Riain was to the forefront of research into crisis pregnancies and post-abortion counselling.
Her resignation only came to light last night, as tensions mount in Fine Gael over abortion, with the risk of suicide as a grounds for a termination becoming the new battleground.
Party ministers and TDs told the Irish Independent they have a concern about the threat of suicide being used as a pretext for obtaining an abortion where there is not actually any psychological risk to the mother.
The family of Savita Halappanavar say the Minister for Health, James Reilly, has until Thursday to agree to a public inquiry into her death or else they will take their case the European Court of Human Rights.
The father of the late Ms Halappanavar has made an appeal to the Government to consider a public inquiry.
Speaking from India, Mr Andanappa Yalagi said the family were not happy with the progress made so far. He added that he did not understand, or trust, the HSE investigation.
Dr Reilly has said that when he receives the reports of the two current investigations into her death, he will take whatever action is needed.
Earlier, Mr Reilly said he respects the views of Praveen Halappanavar and his right to do as he sees fit in seeking a different inquiry into his wife's death.
The minister said he has a duty of care to the women of Ireland and the west of Ireland to ensure practices at University Hospital Galway are safe.
He added that he has a duty to reassure them it is a safe place to have a baby and that he has to await the outcome of the internal and HIQA inquiries.
Minister Reilly said he will take whatever action those inquiries demand, but that "in fairness", this was the first maternal death at the Galway hospital in 17 years, and the service there has been safe.
I write to you as a middle-aged Irishwoman who marched the streets of Dublin back in 1983 to protest the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, and marched again and again throughout the eighties and nineties as that amendment's sorry consequences unfolded.
I write as a freethinker, who can say with Voltaire, that even if I disapprove of what you say, I will defend your right to say it. I write as a mother of two, now grown, who has penned articles about this question from many perspectives and written a novel about Irish freedom, which centres on an 18-year-old who terminated, as so many have, an Irish pregnancy in Engand.
And I write as one of the offshore Irish, who spoke outside the Irish embassy in London last week to honour the memory of Savita Halappanavar and urge your government to respond appropriately to her death.
KITTY HOLLAND and MARESE McDONAGH
Crucial information including repeated requests for a termination were not recorded in Savita Halappanavar’s medical records, her husband’s solicitor claimed yesterday.
Gerard O’Donnell, representing Praveen Halappanavar, said the notes covering her care on Monday, October 22nd, when it is alleged she made her first request for a termination, were “particularly scant”.
“It’s almost as if a whole day is missing from the notes,” he said last night. He said while there were records kept of her having cups of tea or of her husband asking for extra blankets for her, there was none on the requested termination.
Ms Halappanavar died at the hospital on October 28th, having presented with severe backpain a week earlier. She had been 17-weeks pregnant and had been found to be miscarrying. Mr Halappanavar says she asked repeatedly, between Monday 21st and Wednesday 23rd, that the pregnancy be terminated. This was refused, he says, as a foetal heartbeat was present and he claims they were told: “This is a Catholic country.”
Praveen Halappanavar, husband of the late Savita Halappanavar, met Minister for Health James Reilly for a 25-minutes today.
They met in Galway in the company of his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell.
Speaking afterwards Mr O’Donnell described their talks as “positive”. The meeting was sought by the Department of Health and Mr Halappanavar agreed to meet Mr Reilly during a previously arranged visit to the city today.
Mr Reilly expressed condolences to Mr Halappanavar on the death of his wife at Galway University Hospital last month, on his behalf and on behalf of the Government.
"[T]here was no request documented in the Savita Halappanavar's medical records that she or her husband had repeatedly sought a termination."
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This is deeply, deeply concerning and an indicator of how much shame and secrecy surrounds this issue in this country, even in a medical setting. It should NOT; the issue of access to safe and legal abortion is absolutely key to women's health and human rights.