HSE report was a whitewash, say Savita Halappanavar’s parents
Parents tell of their grief and why they believe justice has not been done
“I was with her in the hospital for two hours on Monday [October 22nd] and she was sitting up and she said, ‘Poppa, it’s okay. I am fine. This is an Irish hospital. It is a good hospital and they will take care of me’,” said Mr Yalagi. “We were in Dublin the next day at the airport and she called about three or four times, always checking that we were okay. Even on the plane she was saying, ‘Turn off your phone now Poppa, I will talk to you when you are home.’ That was the last time I spoke to her,” he said, his voice breaking.
Referring to Ms Burke’s testimony at the inquest Mr Yalagi says: “This is a very kind, very wonderful woman. She told Savita the truth and she told the truth after too. We will always be grateful to this woman.”
He and his wife firmly believe the truth is that Savita should have been offered an abortion and he believes the refusal was rooted in an application of Catholic teaching to Irish laws. He says he was “shocked” when he heard the law in Ireland did not permit abortion to protect women’s health.
‘An evil law’
“We were shocked when we heard about this law about abortion in Ireland. This is an evil law. How can this be called a Christian law? God is merciful. He does not want women to die. Religion should have nothing to do with medicine. We are Hindu and Savita was Hindu and very religious. She worshipped every day. But that is religion. It should have nothing to do with medicine.”
India, he says, looked up to Ireland in its battle for independence from Britain. Now he wonders how Ireland can be called a republic. “A republic has laws that are for everyone. A republic looks after all its people.”
He has looked into the history of the Irish abortion situation and asks why, 20 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the X case, the Government had not enacted legislation.
“A country should respect its own Supreme Court. Its own court. Its own Supreme Court makes a ruling and the Government does nothing? If the Government had respected its own court my Savita would have been alive today,” he says, shaking his head. “They must change the law to save women’s health. Women’s health is as important as a man’s. If the law does not do that, Savita has been sacrificed for nothing. How many Savitas do they want? They must look after Irish women. We would like a law that saves women .”