Ireland Activists Call for Abortion Legislation to be Named ‘Savita’s Law’

Savita Halappanavar Halappanavar died in 2012 when her request for termination of pregnancy was turned down in Ireland since doctors could detect the fetus’ heartbeat.


Activists in Ireland are rooting for the country’s new pro-choice abortion law to be named after Savita Halappanavar, the Indian-origin dentist who died in 2012 following pregnancy-related complications.

Together for Yes, an umbrella group which represents pro-repeal organizations, said that it supports the view that the law be referred to as “Savita’s Law,” a request also put forth by Halappanavar’s father, Andanappa Yalagi.

“We have one last request, that the new law, that it is called ‘Savita’s Law’. It should be named for her,” Yalagi said, the Irish Times reported. “We’ve got justice for Savita and what happened to her will not happen to any other family now. I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment,” Yalagi was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Together for Yes said in Dublin on May 27 that it will support the move to name the new abortion law after Halappanavar.

“In terms of Savita and her family I think our country owes them a great debt and we were so honoured and so touched by the support that they lent to the campaign over the course of it,” the organization’s co-director Grainne Griffin said, the reported. “I was really glad to see her father say that yesterday they felt they had justice for their daughter.”

Halappanavar died at University Hospital Galway on Oct. 28, 2012 at the age of 31 years, when she was 17 weeks pregnant. This was a week after she came to hospital complaining of severe back pain. Doctors found that she was miscarrying, but her request for terminating the pregnancy was turned down since doctors could detect the fetus’ heartbeat.

Together for Yes has also urged the government to begin working on the legislation immediately. “The people have spoken,” its co-chair Orla O’Connor said, the Guardian reported.

The 1,000-strong Indian community in Galway also welcomed the referendum results on abortion laws in Ireland.

“It is wonderful for all women, both Irish and immigrant, and reflects a resounding trust in women. It is up now to the legislators to move swiftly and pass the legislation, so that nobody has to go over the water anymore,” said Dr Chalikonda Prasad, who was a close friend of Halappanavar.

The 8th amendment of the Constitution of Ireland will be revoked and replaced with an “enabling provision for the regulation of termination of pregnancy” after 70 per cent people voted on May 25 to repeal the rule.

After the results of the referendum came out on May 26, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that he hoped that the new law will be enacted by the end of the year.

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris will now seek the approval of the Irish Cabinet to draft a legislation. The new law will permit abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy and in some cases up to the 23rd week, the Guardian reported.

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