Liz McManus: Culture of secrecy and silence brought us to this sorry place
WE don't know the precise details of Savita Halappanavar's death, but we know she was denied medical intervention in an Irish hospital. Her request for an abortion was denied, according to her husband, on the grounds that Ireland is a Catholic country and that she could only be induced if there was no foetal heartbeat.
It is incorrect to describe Ireland as a Catholic country. It is a Republic, one that is increasingly multicultural. It is also untrue to say that a foetal heartbeat is the barometer on whether an abortion can be carried out. The Constitution fulfils that role. It provides that a woman has a right to an abortion where there is a real and substantial threat to her life.
Savita spent her last days in agony. Then this beautiful, gifted, young woman died. It is a tragedy that has resonated deeply with the public who have come in sympathy onto the streets across Ireland.