Candlelight vigil marks third anniversary of Savita’s death

Galway: Pro-choice group vows to continue struggle for women’s reproductive rights

The anniversary event in Galway was organised by Galway-Pro Choice and included a photo display alongside a book of remembrance. Photograph: : Joe O’Shaughnessy

The anniversary event in Galway was organised by Galway-Pro Choice and included a photo display alongside a book of remembrance. Photograph: : Joe O’Shaughnessy

 

The third anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar was marked with a candlelight vigil in Galway city centre on Wednesday night.

The death of Ms Halappanavar (31), an Indian-born dentist, when she was 17 weeks pregnant sparked a debate on the State’s abortion laws.

She presented at University College Hospital in Galway on October 21st, 2012 with pains and was found to be miscarrying. She died a week later – on October 28th, 2012 – after miscarrying and contracting sepsis.

A subsequent inquest heard that she had repeatedly asked for a termination. But because a heartbeat was detected and her life did not appear to be in danger at that time, an abortion could not be carried out under the law.

Contributory factors

The chairman of the board responsible for University College Hospital Galway later apologised to Praveen Halappanavar for his wife’s death. Noel Daly also moved to reassure the public that the hospital had implemented all of the recommendations made in a report into Savita’s death.

The anniversary event in Galway was organised by Galway-Pro Choice and included a photo display alongside a book of remembrance.

“Three years on and not much has changed for women in Ireland. Three years on and women are still treated as second class citizens, without a voice or bodily autonomy,” Maria Heschl of Galway Pro-Choice said. “Galway remembers Savita, her vibrancy, her bravery. Galway remembers the bravery of her friends, family and community. We should not and will not forget what happened to her. It is vital that we continue to remember the struggle for women’s reproductive rights in order to ensure this never again happens.”

The anniversary was also marked in Berlin where a Pro Choice group gathered in front of the Irish Embassy. A spokeswoman for the group, Rachel Donnelly, said: “The majority of people in Ireland would welcome much more liberal abortion laws, yet successive governments have continued to drag their heels on this issue.

“Enough women have been hurt by the archaic Eighth Amendment. We need a referendum to remove it from the constitution as soon as possible and finally provide Irish women with the choices that should be theirs by right.”