A hospital stands accused of being responsible for the death of a pregnant woman and pro-abortion activists say its refusal to allow her to have an abortion to save her life cost her her life.
But two leading Irish pro-life groups say that is not the case.
Responding to the tragic death of Mrs Savita Halappanavar who was 17 weeks pregnant and died in University College Hospital, Galway, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said:
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the husband and family of Ms Savita Halappanavar who died from pregnancy related complications.
It is deplorable that those who want to see abortion available here are exploiting Mrs Halappanavar’s tragic death when the Medical Council Guidelines are very clear that all necessary medical treatment must be given to women in pregnancy. Given this, we welcome the fact that a thorough investigation to establish what went wrong is taking place.
It is also vitally important to acknowledge at this time that Ireland, without induced abortion, is recognized by the UN and World Health Organisation as a world leader in protecting women in pregnancy and is safer than places like Britain and Holland where abortion is widely available.”
Our thoughts are with the husband and family of Savita Halappanavar at this very difficult time.
This is a tragic loss, and we need to remember that Irish doctors are always obliged to intervene to save the life of a mother – even if that risks the life of her baby.
In fact, the Medical Council are very clear in this regard that their guidelines state that doctors will be struck off if they don’t intervene to save the life of a mother. The result of the investigation into Ms Halappanavar’s death will make the facts known, and journalists have been rushing to pre-empt those investigations when they are not in full possession of the facts.
According to the information that is available, it seems that a delay in administering antibiotics may have been the cause of the septicaemia which tragically led to her death.
Experts commenting on the case have made it clear that in such cases the main concentration of the medical team treating any woman in this situations would be on maintaining her health. “In such situations, you expedite delivery,” one Obstetrician told the Irish Times. Interventions to deal with the cause of the illness are not considered a therapeutic termination of pregnancy, another Dublin-based practitioner told the newspaper.
Ireland’s ban on abortion does not pose a threat to women’s lives, according to the Obstetricians and Gynaecologists who care for Irish women every day. In fact, without abortion, Ireland is one of the safest places in the world for a mother to have a baby, according to the United Nations.
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“This is a hugely difficult time for the family of Savita Halappanavar, and we hope that the investigations shed a full light on this tragic loss of life,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute.
“It is very sad to see abortion campaigners rush to exploit this case to further their own agenda,” she added. “The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar’s life was not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion. We need to ensure that mothers and babies are best protected; and abortion is not part of best medical practice. It is medieval medicine.”