Praveen Halappanavar: “you lose your rights basically when you are pregnant” in Ireland

Mr Halappanavar tells The Irish Times he is "optimistic" the Government will move hastily to legislate to clarify the legal situation surrounding entitlement to abortion in obstetric emergencies.

Praveen Halappanavar photographed at Galway County Hall for the inquest into the death of his wife Savita Halappanavar who died at University College Hospital last year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Praveen Halappanavar photographed at Galway County Hall for the inquest into the death of his wife Savita Halappanavar who died at University College Hospital last year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Praveen Halappanavar has spoken of his hope that his wife Savita’s death will lead to legislation being enacted that ensures no-one should ever again die in such circumstances as she did.

Speaking to The Irish Times this evening, Mr Halappanavar said the lack of clarity about when a doctor may terminate a pregnancy had been a “huge shock” to him and “devastating news” for Savita.

“You lose your rights basically when you are pregnant here I think. You lose your rights to get necessary healthcare. Savita and me, we knew that abortion was illegal in Ireland but not termination when it is a planned pregnancy, when you can’t save the baby and the mother may die if you don’t do something like terminate. That was big shock for us.”

Asked how Savita had reacted when told by Dr Katherine Astbury – according to his account – on Monday October 22nd that the 17-week pregnancy she was miscarrying could not be terminated because the foetal heart-beat was still present, he said: “She was devastated basically. She was in tears. She was really pushing for it and determined because she wanted to be home before her parents had to go back to India, She really wanted to see them off at the airport and she wanted the situation to end.”

He said it was “some small bit of comfort that the truth” had emerged at the inquest as he had told it and he hoped good would come of it.

“I hope something good comes out of it and I hope something good comes out of it. That is what her family wants, that no other woman would have to go through the trauma that Savita, her parents, the family had to go through.”

In particular he hoped it would mean the Government would move hastily to legislate to clarify the legal situation as to when Irish women may be entitled to abortions in obstetric emergencies.

“Fingers crossed. I am optimistic about it,” he said this evening at a friend’s house in Galway city. “I hope something good comes of it. I do hope it for Irish women and I owe it to Savita. I know her parents want that too.”

An extended interview with Praveen Halappanaver will be in tomorrow's edition of The Irish Times