Praveen Halappanavar, who did not respond to a request for comment, told The Guardian newspaper in 2013 that the inquest into his wife’s death had “vindicated” his version of events. He told the inquest that a doctor told him an abortion could not be performed because “it is a Catholic country.
After the report was published, University Hospital Galway apologized to Halappanavar’s family in a statement saying it “was clear” that “there were lapses in the standards of care provided”.
“We can reassure everyone involved that we have already put changes in place to avoid a repeat of such an event,” he added.
Threat to a mother’s life
While some US states have enacted “trigger laws” prohibiting abortion – some providing exceptions such as rape or incest, and all currently allow abortion if the life of the mother is in serious danger – many experts wonder how easy it will be to get such an exception. Additionally, asking doctors to interpret complex legislation in the midst of a medical emergency can lead to dangerous decisions, they said.
Ireland’s 2012 law allowed abortion to prevent “a major potential danger or threat to the life of the mother”. But the Halappanavar report said a doctor decided the point at which an abortion was “permissible under Irish law” had not been reached.
That’s not a theoretical scenario in the United States, said Dr. Jen Gunter, a California-based OB-GYN and author of “The Vagina Bible.”
“I’ve personally been in a situation where, due to state law, abortion was illegal at our medical center and we had a patient who needed it,” she said in an interview. , declining to share any other details about the case aside from the fact that it was in Kansas, where abortion is legal up to 22 weeks with certain restrictions.
“It was not a complication of the pregnancy, her organs were failing due to the added burden of pregnancy due to her underlying condition,” she added.
Kansas Medical Center lawyers told Gunter she couldn’t perform the abortion unless the woman was in “imminent danger.”
“I was like, ‘What does that mean?’ And their interpretation was that she was going to die in the next three minutes,” she said. Gunter said hospital attorneys phoned the state politician involved in the legislation, who told her said, “Do what you think is best, doctor.”
“So I thought, ‘So why do we have this law?'” she said.
An ectopic pregnancy – in which a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus, often in a fallopian tube, and can be life-threatening for the mother – could lead to further confusion and untenable delays in processing under the new laws, she said.
Gunter is ruthless in his prediction of what tougher abortion laws could mean in the US
She said women could die despite better antibiotics to treat septic abortions
“Halappanavar? It will never change things in the United States when it happens here, and it will.
Lawmaker Ivana Bacik, leader of the Irish Labor Party and long-time abortion rights advocate, led a protest against the Supreme Court ruling outside the US Embassy in Dublin on Monday “in solidarity with women and girls American”.
“Our experience here is that prohibiting and criminalizing abortion puts women’s lives at risk. It is very clear that this is the dire reality now for American women,” she said.
“If you take away the right to abortion for women and girls, you are putting lives at risk. The reality is that there will be life-threatening and life-threatening conditions during pregnancy.
Bacik said Halappanavar’s story was instrumental in shaping public opinion towards a ‘yes’ vote in 2018. As was the case of a brain-dead woman in Ireland whose the life-saving device was only turned off more than three weeks after she was declared clinically dead in 2014 following a lengthy legal battle because she was 18 weeks pregnant.
In their submission to the Irish government’s ongoing review of abortion laws, a group of 20 women’s rights and healthcare charities commissioned a poll in March showing that 67% of people in across the island were supporting free access to abortion – mirroring support for “yes” in 2018.
Yet opponents of abortion rights in Ireland continue to fight. On Saturday, a right to life rally will take place in Dublin, where organizers are calling on supporters “to be a voice for the 6,500 babies killed by abortion every year”.
Carol Nolan, an independent lawmaker representing the Laois-Offaly constituency in the Irish Midlands, opposed the change to the law in 2018 and argues that Halappanavar’s death has been “deliberately and continuously” distorted by activists in the womens rights.
“The factors that massively contributed to Savita’s death then were medical negligence and mismanagement of maternal sepsis,” she said via email, adding that she believed the pre-2018 law – known as the Eighth Amendment – was no bar to Halappanavar receiving proportionate and effective care.
“After the removal of the constitutional amendment, we saw an explosion in abortion numbers and the application of relentless political and non-governmental pressure to further expand the parameters of the post-2018 law,” Nolan said.
There were 32 abortions in Ireland in 2018 and more than 6,000 in each of the following two years, according to the latest available figures from the country’s government.
“It was completely predictable,” added Nolan. “However, this only served to substantiate my own view that the Eighth Amendment acted as a beacon of proportionality and strong law grounded in an authentic view of human rights.”
The sometimes deadly intersection of law and medicine in the debate has also concerned those who support abortion rights.
Bacik, the Dublin lawmaker, cited the case of Andrea Prudente, an American who was denied an abortion after heavy bleeding in Malta on June 12. She was airlifted to Spain where she received treatment and the fetus was removed.
Multiple cases of women dying after being denied abortion have emerged in Poland, which has a near-total ban on abortion. Last year, a 30-year-old woman known only as Izabela, who was 22 weeks pregnant, died of septic shock, her family said. Scans had shown multiple problems with the fetus, but doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy when there was a fetal heartbeat, Reuters reported.
After fetal death, doctors could then legally operate. But Izabela’s heart stopped on the way to the operating theater to undergo a caesarean section.
In the ensuing mass protests in Poland, flags were raised bearing the slogan: “His heart was beating too”.