Praveen Halappanavar’s wife, Savita, died while being forced to carry her fetus, which was being spontaneously aborted (ie miscarried). After the fetus was gone, Savita went into septic shock and died, apparently from the fetus being left too long*.
CNN quotes Mr. Halappanavar:
Halappanavar says he will settle for nothing less than a full public inquiry — one in which the wider health service, not just his wife’s death, is investigated by independent experts.
“Every single person in the family asked me how could this happen in a place like Ireland in the 21st century, because it was just so simple,” he said.
“When they knew the baby was not going to survive, why not think about the bigger life which was the mother, my wife Savita? And they didn’t.”
All he wants, he said, is the truth.
*Editor’s note: An original version of this story reported an incorrect assessment of Irish law. GMP’s MediaHound explains the issue more fully:
I would point all readers to the article Eilís Mulroy: Pro-choice side must not hijack this terrible event – Published in the Irish Independent News paper Thursday November 15 2012 .
As it says:
The question that needs to be asked is: was Ms Halappanavar treated in line with existing obstetrical practice in Ireland? In this kind of situation the baby can be induced early (though is very unlikely to survive). The decision to induce labour early would be fully in compliance with the law and the current guidelines set out for doctors by the Irish Medical Council.
Those guidelines allow interventions to treat women where necessary, even if that treatment indirectly results in the death to the baby. If they aren’t being followed, laws about abortion won’t change that.
The guidelines were set in 2001 and updated in 2009. – Please do note the most careful tone and words used. First amendment may apply to some – but it is NOT universal.
It would appear that there could be legal questions and even police investigation around the events, and how some chose to interpret national medical guidelines – which appear to have not been followed and which appear to have caused the death of Ms Halappanavar. Of course, that can only be mere speculation and full facts and medical details are now covered by the Statutory Investigation that is ongoing – and even covered by other laws which prevent comment – accurate, ill-judge or just plain hyperbole … or worst still Political Exploitation!
Beyond that the following is highly significant:
Any debate on the issue of abortion should be carried out in a reasonable manner. It does no service to Savita’s memory to use her tragic death as an impetus for legislation that is bad for both women and their babies.
Any investigation into the circumstances surrounding Savita’s death will happen against the backdrop of another investigation into the practices of health professionals when dealing with pregnant women in Ireland.
As a result of an undercover investigation published by the Irish Independent last month, the HSE has launched an investigation into crisis pregnancy counselling services in Ireland that were found to be giving illegal and life-threatening advice.