"This is a Catholic country," was what Irish doctors told Savita Halappanavar after she learned she was miscarrying her pregnancy and asked for an abortion to avoid further complications. She spent three days in agonizing pain, eventually shaking, vomiting and passing out. She again asked for an abortion and was refused, because the fetus still had a heartbeat.Here's a photo of Savita Halappanavar:
Then she died.
She was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia a week after presenting with back pain on 21 October at University hospital in Galway, where she was found to be miscarrying.
Her husband describes her last days:
"Savita was really in agony. She was very upset, but she accepted she was losing the baby. When the consultant [doctor] came on the ward rounds on Monday morning Savita asked if they could not save the baby could they induce to end the pregnancy. The consultant said: 'As long as there is a fetal heartbeat we can't do anything.'Last year an Irish PM proposed legalizing abortion. The Catholic Church organized a successful campaign to defeat the bill.
"Again on Tuesday morning, the ward rounds and the same discussion. The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita [an Indian Hindu] said: 'I am neither Irish nor Catholic,' but they said there was nothing they could do.
"That evening she developed shakes and shivering and she was vomiting. She went to use the toilet and she collapsed. There were big alarms and a doctor took blood and started her on antibiotics.
"The next morning I said she was so sick and asked again that they just end it, but they said they couldn't."
"They said they were shifting her to intensive care. Her heart and pulse were low, her temperature was high. She was sedated and critical but stable. She stayed stable on Friday but by 7pm on Saturday they said her heart, kidneys and liver weren't functioning. She was critically ill. That night, we lost her."