Harsh criticisms reported in Indian media
The ministry of external affairs in India has expressed its concern over the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway University Hospital last month, describing it a “terrible tragedy”.
Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for the ministry, said: “We deeply regret the tragic death of Ms Halappanavar. The death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern. Our embassy in Dublin is following the matter closely.”
Ms Halappanavar’s death has led news programmes, newspapers and discussion programmes across her native India, some of it including hostile references to Ireland.
Her parents, father Andanappa Yalagi and mother A Mahadevi, have been widely interviewed voicing harsh criticism of the care their only daughter and youngest child received in Ireland. Ms Mahadevi told several Indian television stations on Wednesday: “In an attempt to save a four-month-old foetus they killed my 31-year-old daughter. How is that fair, you tell me? How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians,” she said.
Ireland’s ambassador to India is meanwhile attempting to ease concerns in the country over Ms Halappanavar’s death.
Feilim McLaughlin is briefing government and opposition figures in New Delhi. Officials in diplomatic circles in Dublin said meetings were planned with politicians of all creeds in an effort to indicate the exact position on abortion in Ireland “in light of strong headlines”.
An editorial yesterday in the widely respected broadsheet Times of India said: “The debate in the western world on abortion is often portrayed as one between the “pro-life” and “pro-choice” camps.
“As this case should illustrate to those who view an anti-abortion position as pro-life, that can often be a dangerously misplaced notion.
“In this specific case, it appears clear that the yet-to-be-born child’s life was doomed whether or not an abortion had taken place. The mother’s life, on the other hand, could have been saved had the abortion been done. The ban on abortion therefore ended up taking a life that need not have been lost. How does that square with viewing the ban as pro-life?”
The Irish Embassy in New Delhi has expressed its “profound condolences” to Ms Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, and her family.