An inquest into the death of an Indian dentist in Ireland after she was reportedly denied an abortion for her miscarrying fetus got under way Monday in Galway.
The death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway on October 28 prompted anger in Ireland and elsewhere and sparked demands for Ireland to introduce new abortion laws.
Doctors and nurses from the Galway hospital are to give evidence at the inquest, which is expected to last at least a week.
The Halappanavar family says Savita died of blood poisoning after doctors declined to abort her miscarrying fetus because of Ireland’s strict laws. Her husband says she was advised her unborn baby would likely die.
Halappanavar, 31, went into a hospital on October 21, complaining of back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant at the time.
The doctors who examined her told her she was having a miscarriage but denied her an abortion even though she was in extreme pain, her husband has said.
Things like this could easily happen in the US if the “conscience” bills are allowed to stand and fundamentalist anti-choice lobbies win at the Supreme Court level. Note the level of arrogance here in forcing Catholic views and practices on someone who was Hindu.
Savita Halappanavar’s family said she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying. Her husband said it was refused because there was a foetal heartbeat. Ms Halappanavar’s death, on 28 October, is the subject of two investigations.
An autopsy carried out two days after her death found she had died from septicaemia. Ms Halappanavar, who was 31 and originally from India, was a dentist.
Praveen Halappanavar said staff at University Hospital Galway told them Ireland was “a Catholic country”.
When asked by the BBC if he thought his wife would still be alive if the termination had been allowed, Mr Halappanavar said: “Of course, no doubt about it.”