Tuesday 20 August 2019

Savita's father appeals directly to Taoiseach to change law

A scene from the video by Christopher Tierney featuring Savita (right) dancing with other members of the Indian community in Galway on St Patrick's Day 2012

Tom Lawrence

THE father of Savita Halappanavar has appealed directly to the Taoiseach to change Ireland's abortion laws.

Grieving Andanappa Yalagi said altering the legislation would "save the lives of so many women in the future".

Mr Yalagi's daughter Savita, 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.

In an interview today, Mr Yalagi added his voice to a growing number of calls urging the Government to reform complex abortion laws.

Addressing Enda 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."

Ireland's ambassador to India met with government and opposition figures in New Delhi on Friday to ease concerns over the death.

The Galway-Roscommon University Hospitals Group and the Health Service Executive's national accident management team announced two separate investigations into Mrs Halappanavar's death.

Chiefs at the hospital expect to finish its review within the next three months.

Meanwhile, a new tribute video has been posted online (below) showing Savita dancing happily with other members of the Indian community during the St Patrick's Day celebrations this year. The clip by Christopher Tierney, which also features scenes from a vigil at the weekend, had already been viewed more than 5,000 times by Sunday evening.

Video of Savita dancing with other members of Indian community on St Patrick's Day 2012 from Christopher Tierney

Meanwhile, a separate report from a 14-member expert group advising the Government on abortion - in the wake of the European Court of Human Rights ruling - landed on the health minister's desk last week.

The Taoiseach said the Cabinet will examine the expert group's findings before a response is given to the court judgment on or before November 30.

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.

It comes as plans were outlined for an International Day of Protest on Wednesday with demonstrations at Irish embassies around the world.

Mr Murphy said: "The breadth of support for this letter demonstrates the anger that exists around the world at the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, a death that could have been avoided by legislation on abortion in Ireland. As 20,000 people demanded yesterday on the streets of Dublin - we need legislation now."

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