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Feminist News


November-30-12

Irish Government May Face European Court for Abortion Death

On Thursday, Praveen Halappanavar announced that he will take the Irish government to the European Court of Human Relations over his wife's death after she was denied an abortion last month.

According to Gerard O'Donnell, Halappanavar's lawyer, Halappanavar believes the government did not investigate Savita Halappanavar's death in October sufficiently. As a result, he plans to challenge the government under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law."

Savita Halappanavar died last month in Ireland after she was denied an abortion while miscarrying her pregnancy. She was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at University Hospital Galway complaining of severe back pain. Hospital staff determined she was miscarrying, however doctors refused to remove the pregnancy until three days later after the fetal heartbeat had stopped. After the pregnancy was removed, Savita was transferred to intensive care where she died three days later of what was determined to be septicaemia (similar to blood poisoning). During the days before her death, Halappanavar begged to have the pregnancy terminated, but was told she was in "a Catholic country."

Her death has made international headlines and increased external and internal pressure for reforming Ireland's abortion ban. The government has launched two investigations into Halappanavar's death, however both were private investigations and have not satisfied Praveen Halappanavar or Savita's family, according to CNN.

Media Resources: Irish Times 11/30/12; CNN 11/29/12, Feminist Newswire 11/15/12, 11/14/12