10,000 march in Dublin for woman who died after being denied abortion

In the run up to the US elections, I missed a story from Ireland of Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old Irish dentist, who died on October 28 because a hospital refused her emergency request for an abortion to save her life.

The 31-year-old, who was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child, died Oct. 28 one week after being hospitalized with severe pain at the start of a miscarriage. Her death, made public by her husband this week, has highlighted Ireland’s long struggle to come to grips with abortion.

Doctors refused her requests to remove the fetus until its heartbeat stopped four days after her hospitalization. Hours later she became critically ill and her organs began to fail. She died three days later from blood poisoning. Her widower and activists say she could have survived, and the spread of infection been stopped, had the fetus been removed sooner.

abortion rally  dublin Savita Halappanavar

Ten Thousand People Attended A Rally In Dublin In Memory Of Savita Halappanavar. Photo by William Murphy.

Ten days earlier, Republican Congressman Joe Walsh (since defeated) spoke out against “life of the mother” exception to total abortion bans because, as Walsh put it, “modern technology” makes it so that the life of the mother is no longer ever in danger from a pregnancy.

Walsh said he was against abortion “without exception,” including rape, incest and in cases in which the life or health of the mother was in jeopardy.

Asked by reporters after the debate if he was saying that it’s never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save the life of a mother, Walsh responded, “Absolutely.”

With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance,” he said. “… There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.”

Found one.

As the AP story in the Post points out, abortion is banned in the Irish constitution (the same brilliant idea Republicans would like to try here).  The Irish Supreme Court found twenty years ago that an abortion could be permitted to save the life of the mother, but Ireland’s politicians have refused to enact legislation defining when exactly a hospital can conduct an abortion, so they don’t.  And women die.

abortion dublin ireland rally

Photo by William Murphy.

And lest anyone doubt the Republican’s party’s extremism, the GOP called in their platform this year for the exact same rule of law on abortion that they have in Ireland – well, and even less, since the Republicans didn’t even mention the life of the mother:

Even as the Republican establishment continued to call for Representative Todd Akin of Missouri to drop out of his Senate race because of his comments on rape and abortion, Republicans approved platform language on Tuesday calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion with no explicit exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The anti-abortion plank, approved by the Republican platform committee Tuesday morning in Tampa, Fla., was similar to the planks Republicans have included in their recent party platforms, which also called for a constitutional ban on abortions.


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  • Naja pallida

    How about all the women who died trying to carry a baby to term and give birth? Which has been studied, and found to be about 14 times more risky than having a legal abortion… and maternal mortality has actually been on the rise in the US.

    Do you suppose the emotional toll of having an abortion is better or worse than the toll of having a child you don’t want, and/or are incapable of caring for? Or the emotional and physical toll of having a child with a disability to the point where they require constant care for the whole of their lives? Or the emotional toll of being raped and then forced, by the government, to have that baby?

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    Virgin birth fetus fetishists.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    The fetus must be saved for the future pleasure of perverted clergy.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    Catholic cracked-pot.

  • Bill Rulon-Miller

    Technically she values the life of the mother less than a dead fetus. The fetus was pretty much dead no matter what happened but people like Theresa think that the mother should die with it all for some sort of petty symbolism.

  • milli2

    She remained fully dilated throughout the whole miscarriage, which any doctor will tell you is like having an open wound. You leave it open for DAYS on end, you risk infection, which is what happened. They essentially killed her.

  • A reader in Colorado

    Has Joe Walsh says is total nonsense. You don’t have to go to Ireland to find one instance of a pregnancy endangering a woman’s life, requiring the removal of a fetus. Just look at all the ectopic pregnancies that occur every year.

  • Butch1

    This is good. Perhaps the government will listen to the vast numbers that are in the streets and stop paying attention to those child rapists trotting around in the robes and pointy hats and get rid of those ridiculous laws that hurt women to the point where they lose their lives in the process. There was no need for this woman to lose her life. The church has blood on its hands and so does that government for not making an emergency decision to spare the life of this woman. They should run every priest, bishop, and cardinal out of that country after what just happened. They have no business talking “compassion” or anything else after this.

    She wasn’t even of the same religion but had to follow their rules and regulations ergo, she died by them as a result of it.

  • Stev84

    You should be more worried about the tens of thousands of women who suffer and die each year from botched illegal abortions. The kind that always occur no matter what the law says.

  • Stev84

    An abortion is the standard treatment of an incomplete miscarriage. The fetus had zero chance of survival in any case. Waiting for it to go away is just asking for an infection like the one that killed her.

  • KingCranky

    Why do you value the mother’s life less than the fetus?

    And you do know that more women die during pregnancy and delivery than due to legal abortions, correct?

  • Mirror

    Clearly, the doctors said she was already miscarrying.

    It is the mother’s body. She has the right to do what she wants with her body. Seriously, go back to the Taliban village you come from, where rapists have their DNA propagated with government enforcement. We are still trying to build modern civilization here, with inidividual liberty and mutual respect for that liberty.

  • Kes

    You expect the hospital or its staff to publicly admit fault? *snort*

  • milli2

    Women also died from using coat hangers and bleach to end their pregnancies.

  • Theresa

    Where do you list the women who have died from supposed “safe legal” abortion here in the US?do some research, there are plenty of them. How about you r article on women who have been hurt emotionally and physically from supposed “safe legal abortion”? Most have missed that one too.

  • C.F.

    But the only sources cited in this article to back up the claim that an abortion would have saved her are her husband and “activists”. I’d personally like to hear what the doctors have to say.

  • A_nonymoose

    If you go in for that God thing, I’d say that there’s going to be some divine retribution for these heartless bastards.

  • Indigo

    Obsessive fertility cult Catholicism has much to attone for.

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