independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Dead woman's father urges new laws

Savita Halappanavar died after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia (Irish Times, PA)

The father of a pregnant Indian woman who died after being refused an abortion in Ireland has urged the country's prime minister to change the country's abortion laws.

In a direct appeal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, grieving Andanappa Yalagi said altering the legislation would "save the lives of so many women in the future".

Mr Yalagi's daughter Savita Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she died at Galway University Hospital on October 28 after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia. Her husband Praveen alleged his wife, who is a dentist, pleaded with doctors to perform a medical termination.

Doctors are said to have denied her requests because the foetus's heartbeat was present - reportedly telling her: "This is a Catholic country."

In an interview with the Observer, Mr Yalagi added his voice to a growing number of calls urging the Government to reform complex abortion laws. Addressing Mr Kenny, he said: "Sir, please change your law and take consideration of humanity. Please change the law on abortion, which will help to save the lives of so many women in the future."

Mr Yalagi also called on the Indian government to take up the issue with their Irish counterparts. "We want the government of India to put pressure on Ireland to change the law so that this cannot happen in the future," he said.

Mr Yalagi revealed that he and his wife are considering legal action against the hospital and said that no health officials or anyone from the Irish government had been in touch with them to express any remorse.

Speaking at his home in the southern Indian town of Belgaum, he added: "I want to take legal action against them over the inhumane way they treated my daughter." He added: "They are doctors but they were not humane. If they had been humane, they would have treated her. I do not want this to happen to other people. I am very angry."

More than 50 members of the European parliament have called on the Irish Government to legislate on abortion following the death of Mrs Halappanavar.

The 53 MEPs from 15 different countries have written to the Taoiseach calling for action. The letter was initiated by Irish MEP Paul Murphy and MEP Mikael Gustafsson, who is chair of the Women's Rights and Equality Committee.

Press Association

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