Yes campaigners want Irish abortion legislation to be ‘Savita’s law’ | World news

Campaigners for abortion reform in Ireland have said they will support a move to have a new law named after Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied a termination in 2012.

Halappanavar’s father has called for the legislation that will follow the historic referendum result to be referred to as “Savita’s law”. “We have one last request, that the new law, that it is called ‘Savita’s law’. It should be named for her,” Andanappa Yalagi told the Irish Times.

At a press conference in Dublin on Sunday, Together for Yes, an umbrella group representing pro-repeal organisations, said it would support such a move. It also called on the government to start immediate work on legislation. “The people have spoken,” said its co-chair Orla O’Connor.

Abortion will not immediately be available to women within Ireland.

The eighth amendment – article 40.3.3 of the Irish constitution – which prohibited abortion, will be replaced with a clause stating: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”

The Irish government is planning to bring legislation before the Dáil, providing for abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy, with a three-day “cooling off” period before medication is administered.

The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said he wanted the new law to be enacted by the end of the year.

Between 12 and 24 weeks, abortion will be available only in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, a risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to the health of the mother. After 24 weeks, termination will be possible in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

There will be provision for conscientious objection among medical practitioners, although doctors will be obliged to transfer care of the pregnant woman to another doctor.

Simon Harris, the Irish health minister, will seek cabinet approval for draft legislation, permitting abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy and in limited circumstances up to the 23rd week. The prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has said he hopes a new law will be enacted by the end of the year.

Together For Yes said it would wind down as an umbrella group. “We were here to repeal the eighth and we did,” O’Connor said.

On Saturday, Yalagi told the Guardian that the referendum result meant justice had been done for his daughter.

Speaking by phone from his home in Karnataka in south-west India, he said: “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.”

A framed portrait of Halappanavar was held above the crowd as results were announced at Dublin Castle on Saturday.

A mural to Halappanavar, who died aged 31 and who became a symbol of the campaign to overturn Ireland’s ban on abortion in all but the strictest circumstances, became a shrine over the weekend, with flowers, candles and messages left at the site.

Savita Halappanavar died after she was refused a termination in an Irish hospital



Savita Halappanavar died after she was refused a termination in an Irish hospital. Photograph: The Irish Times/PA

“Sorry we were too late. But we are here now, we didn’t forget you,” read one note taped to the wall. Another said: “I’m so deeply sorry you had to suffer. You have changed our history and our destiny.”

Some of those at the mural stood in reflection, some hugged each other, some were in tears, some jumped out of their cars to drop off flowers.

Sean Drugan and his six-year-old son taped a note to the wall that read: “Today your pain, your death has brought this country together, together for yes, together for looking after each other, our own, our others.”

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(@lisaocarroll)

People still streaming to the Savita mural, some in years. This dad. Sean Drugan with his 6 year old son said. “Sometimes it takes someone from a different culture to change their adoptive country. Your memory will not be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/5FWXYS7tCe


May 27, 2018

Asked what had led to his gesture, he said: “Sometimes it takes someone from a different culture to change their adoptive country. Your memory will not be forgotten.”

Niamh Ní Chonchubhair said: “Savita was the moment where we all woke up to the urgency of this … Savita’s passing was unnecessary but people were OK with it and that was what started this. I hope six years on it means something.”

lisa o’carroll
(@lisaocarroll)

“Stand in awe of all mna”, reads sweatshirt of Niamh Ni Conchubhair. “Savita was the moment where we all woke up to the urgency of this… Savita’s passing was unnecessary but people were okay with it and that was what started this. I hole six years on it means something.” pic.twitter.com/zex7A3DVtd


May 27, 2018

Halappanavar, who worked as a dentist, was admitted to University Hospital Galway on 21 October 2012 when she was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child. Medical staff concluded that a miscarriage was inevitable but did not intervene – despite requests from Halappanavar and her husband for an abortion – as a foetal heartbeat could be detected.

A few days later, medics diagnosed infection as a result of ruptured membranes and later septic shock. Halappanavar died on 28 October.

Halappanavar’s death was a catalyst for the movement to repeal the eighth amendment. An independent inquiry into her treatment found there had been an “over-emphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart had stopped”, as well as poor patient monitoring and risk assessment. It strongly recommended that the Irish parliament consider changing the law, and “any necessary constitutional change”.

In media interviews after his wife’s death, Praveen Halappanavar said the couple had repeatedly asked for the pregnancy to be terminated after her admission to hospital but they were told “this is a Catholic country”.

Thousands of people took part in candlelit vigils and protests across Ireland, calling for changes to allow women to have access to legal abortions. An inquest jury returned a unanimous verdict of medical misadventure.



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