Denied an abortion: The questions that need answering

On Friday news broke that a suicidal woman delivered a baby by Caesarean section in her second trimester. She had been refused an abortion. It was reported that the panel of experts “determined the life of the mother and the child was not at risk from suicide”, but given the advanced nature of the pregnancy a decision was made to deliver the baby.

This case, which is believed to be one of the first under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, 2013, immediately led to questions being asked. If the panel had deemed the woman’s life to be at risk from suicide and given the advanced stage of the pregnancy it is likely a Caesarean section would have been the only possible outcome given the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution. But if the panel decided there was no risk from suicide why was the Caesarean section carried out?

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Savita Halappanavar: Miscarriage, abortion and the questions that still remain

When the news of Savita Halappanavar’s death broke on 14th November 2012, I immediately had questions. I wanted to know how and why this young woman died. We all did.

The answers, according to the findings from the on-going inquest, paint a picture of failure after failure. Letting the Halappanavar’s down and Savita ultimately paying for it with her life. These failures were both human and systemic. There was an unnecessary delay in reviewing all the information and test results, which meant they couldn’t possibly treat Savita correctly. Unfortunately, she never stood a chance.

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Savita Halappanavar – sadness, anger, fear and confusion

Needing to attend a hospital because you are in pain is a worrying time. Being pregnant, no doubt, makes it all the scarier as it’s not just your own life you are concerned for.

Being told that you are having a miscarriage is heart breaking beyond belief. Being left, for three days, in pain with a fully dilated cervix and leaking amniotic fluid is nothing short of barbaric.

That this happened to Savita Halappanavar and she died of septicaemia makes my blood run cold.

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