The husband of Savita Halappanavar has said goodbye to Ireland.
Praveen Halappanavar, 32, who lost his wife and unborn child 18 months ago in controversial circumstances at University Hospital Galway, has been transferred to a new position with his employer in the US.
The engineer with medical devices manufacturer Boston Scientific recently finished up at the US firm’s Galway plant and is now based in Los Gatos, California.
Last year, he confirmed he had received hate mail telling him to leave the country, but stressed that Irish people had mostly been kind and supportive.
The “hurtful and abusive letters” had told him to “leave the country”, “mind his own business”, and to “clean the mess” in his native India, he told RTÉ Radio.
Mr Halappanavar is suing the HSE and his wife’s consultant obstetrician, Katherine Astbury, arising from her death on October 28, 2012.
In papers lodged with the High Court last September, the personal injury summons alleges that Ms Halappanavar’s constitutional right to life was breached. It outlines more than 30 issues of alleged negligence which it claims led to her death.
Mr Halappanavar came to Ireland to take up a position in 2007. A year later he married Savita, a 31-year-old dentist, also from India, and the couple set up home in Galway.
She became pregnant in 2012 and was admitted to the hospital on October 21. She was 17 weeks’ pregnant, but found to be miscarrying. On requesting a termination, she was told it would not be possible as there was still a foetal heartbeat and therefore, not permissible under Irish law. She died a week later, after miscarrying, and contracting E coli, leading to septic shock.
From the Irish Examiner:
Sign the Open Letter to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in advance of her December 6th address at Dublin City University on Human Rights
5 December 2012
Dear Madam Secretary,
On the occasion of your visit to Ireland this week, as part of which you will deliver an address at Dublin City University on the theme of human rights, we would like to take this opportunity to express our deep concern at what Human Rights Watch last month described as an “urgent gap in women’s human rights” in Ireland. The failure of seven successive Irish governments to legislate for the constitutional right of women in Ireland to have access to safe and legal abortion when their lives are at risk has resulted in ongoing and unacceptable danger for pregnant women in the country. This danger was tragically highlighted last month by the death in an Irish hospital of a young Indian woman, Savita Halappanavar. As Irish citizens, as members of the Irish diaspora in the United States, and as citizens of the US and elsewhere who wish to express solidarity with women in Ireland, we respectfully ask that, as you meet with the Irish government, and as you speak at DCU, you bear in mind this extremely serious gap in Irish law which constitutes a clear violation of basic human rights.
The situation to which we refer is a consequence of the unwillingness of Irish governments to introduce legislation giving force to the Irish Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in the X case, which stated that a woman is entitled to an abortion when a continued pregnancy would pose a real and substantial threat to her life. A 2010 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C case further found Ireland to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to implement procedures which would allow a woman to establish her right to an abortion within Ireland. The Court also noted that the criminal provisions enshrined in the current law, which dates from 1861, constituted a “chilling factor” for women and medical professionals.
Savita Halappanavar died in University Hospital Galway on October 28th, having been admitted whilst suffering a miscarriage one week previously. Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, has stated that her request for a termination was refused by hospital staff, with one doctor invoking the reasoning that Ireland was “a Catholic country”. After an agonizing three-day miscarriage, Savita was found to have contracted septicemia and E-Coli, and died three days later.
Savita’s death has provoked a mass outpouring of grief and anger from those who believe that a termination may have saved her life and, more crucially, that the lives of pregnant women in Ireland must be protected by clear legislation for the twenty-year-old X case ruling. Organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as well as the UN’s Committee Against Torture have stated that there is an urgent need for domestic legislation in line with international human rights principles, including the very clear ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. The government recently informed the Council of Europe that it plans to take a decision on how to implement the judgment of the Court by December 20th, after the Irish Parliament has debated a report by an Expert Group established to examine this issue. We hope that both the debate and the government’s decision will be based on Ireland’s human rights obligations including its obligations on women’s rights, and that it will be followed by swift implementation.
Otherwise, Ireland will continue to be in clear violation of its international obligations on human rights, despite having committed, during its recent successful campaign for membership of the UN Human Rights Council, to the full promotion of such rights in its domestic policy. Deeming this to be a matter of urgent concern both on an Irish and international scale, we would ask, Madam Secretary, that you might consider addressing this very real and present danger to the lives and health of pregnant women during your visit to Ireland this week. The Irish government must take the right decision to protect the rights of women in Ireland, and it should do so without further delay.
Total number of people who have signed so far:
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A national open meeting of all pro-choice people in Ireland will be held on the 8th of December in Dublin
All those who are interested in ensuring that what happened to Savita Halappanavar never happens again to another woman in Ireland, in ensuring that women's rights to life, health and self-determination are respected on this island, are invited to a national open meeting to launch a national pro-choice campaign on December 8th, to be held in Dublin city centre.
We ask that everyone who can, who wants to show their sympathy with Savita's husband, family and friends, to show solidarity with them in their time of grief and loss, light a candle placed in a specially designed candlebag in her name in a window on the 31-day anniversary of her death, Wednesday 28th November.
You can download the candlebag template from http://i.imgur.com/v0r50.jpg - Follow the instructions to print and make the candle bag. Place it in your window on Wednesday 28th November 2012 to commemorate the one month anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s passing, and send a photo of your window with the general location to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it online to show nationwide support.
This commemorative candle bag is a symbol of sympathy and solidarity; sympathy for the unnecessary death of Savita Halappanavar and solidarity with her family’s struggle for justice. It marks the one month anniversary of Savita's tragic and unnecessary death; a tradition that is observed in both Ireland and India. This small gesture in memory of Savita might also be a big comfort for women and men in your community who have suffered due to the unwillingness of successive Irish governments to legislate for their care. In times of tragedy, the saddest experience is the feeling of not being able to do anything. Sadly, we cannot do anything for Savita now but together we can make sure it never happens again to anyone else in Ireland.
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Using this tool please contact your TD and tell them you are PRO CHOICE and if they voted yes, thank them and if they voted no tell them what matters to you, their constituent!
How the TDs voted:
On Wedneday November 28th at 7pm in Dublin, thousands with gather again in vigil for Savita and in protest of the government at the Dail, to demand legislation. Signing up to this Thunderclap means you will join us whether you can stand with us in person or are somewhere else in the world - please add your voice to this cause.
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TIMELINE: This is the story of one woman’s death in an Irish hospital, based on the account given by her husband and friends
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has not ruled out a public inquiry into the death of pregnant Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.