OVER 50 people attended an intimate and moving candlelit vigil in Limerick city last night in memory of an Indian woman who died in an Irish hospital after being refused a termination.
The event was organised at short-notice on Bedford Row in the city, following a frenzy of interest on the social networking site Twitter, with similar vigils and protests held in Dublin and Cork on a larger scale.
This Saturday afternoon another protest in response to the death of Savita Halappanavar will be held in Limerick city, at 3pm outside Debenhams on O’Connell Street.
The 31 year-old presented to University Hospital Galway on October 21 with back pain, where she was found to be miscarrying at 17 weeks. She died of septicaemia on October 28.
Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination. This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.
The case, which has attracted worldwide media attention, has increased pressure on the Government to legislate for the implications of the X case 20 years ago.
Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland had failed to provide for abortion in circumstances where the mother’s life is at risk.
Socialist Party representative and pro choice activist, Cian Prendiville, said: “The burning anger felt by all of us in the growing pro-choice camp has to be matched with a focus on immediate demands to move the situation on.”