Halappanavar anniversary marked by vigil

The second anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar was marked by a candlelight vigil in Galway last night.

About 150 people turned out to remember the 31-year-old Indian dentist who died from septicaemia at University College Hospital in Galway on October 28, 2012. She was 17 weeks pregnant.

Ms Halappanavar had asked for an abortion when she was told that she was miscarrying and would not retain her unborn baby. But she was advised by hospital staff that an abortion was not possible because of the presence of a heartbeat and because, initially, it was considered that there was not an immediate threat to her life.

Nine members of the hospital staff were later disciplined following a review of the circumstances of her care at the Galway hospital.

Her death and that of her unborn child led to protests calling for a review of the abortion laws and speakers at last night’s commemoration repeated those calls, urging the removal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

Spokeswoman for Pro Choicer Galway, Rachel Donnelly said: “We are trying to keep up the pressure on our politicians to remove the Eighth Amendment, Without it, the liberalising of our laws is very difficult.

“Irish women’s rights are being trampled on still.”

Members of Pro Choice Galway were at Eyre Square inviting the public to sign messages of sympathy and support for the Halappanavar family. Many messages were strung with flowers on the historic Browne Doorway at the Square.

Savita’s husband, Praveen is due to return to Galway to continue working for his employer Boston Scientific.


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