Father of Savita Halappanavar calls for change to Ireland's abortion laws after death of his daughter

 

The father of a pregnant Indian woman who died after being refused an abortion in Ireland has urged the country's prime minister to change the country's abortion laws.

In a direct appeal to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, grieving Andanappa Yalagi said altering the legislation would "save the lives of so many women in the future".

Mr Yalagi's daughter Savita Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she died at Galway University Hospital on October 28 after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia.

Her husband Praveen alleged his wife, who is a dentist, pleaded with doctors to perform a medical termination.

Doctors are said to have denied her requests because the foetus's heartbeat was present - reportedly telling her: "This is a Catholic country."

In an interview with the Observer, Mr Yalagi added his voice to a growing number of calls urging the Government to reform complex abortion laws.

Addressing Mr Kenny, he said: "Sir, please change your law and take consideration of humanity.

"Please change the law on abortion, which will help to save the lives of so many women in the future."

Mr Yalagi also called on the Indian government to take up the issue with their Irish counterparts.

"We want the government of India to put pressure on Ireland to change the law so that this cannot happen in the future," he said.

Mr Yalagi revealed that he and his wife are considering legal action against the hospital and said that no health officials or anyone from the Irish government had been in touch with them to express any remorse.

Speaking at his home in the southern Indian town of Belgaum, he added: "I want to take legal action against them over the inhumane way they treated my daughter."

He added: "They are doctors but they were not humane.

"If they had been humane, they would have treated her.

"I do not want this to happen to other people. I am very angry."

Ireland's ambassador to India met with government and opposition figures in New Delhi on Friday to ease concerns over the death.

The tragedy comes 20 years after a separate controversial abortion case split the country and two years since European judges called for clear direction on when a termination is legal.

The Galway-Roscommon University Hospitals Group and the Health Service Executive's (HSE) national accident management team announced two separate investigations into Mrs Halappanavar's death, which sent waves through the Irish parliament and caused a 2,000-strong protest on its doorstep when it emerged last week.

Chiefs at the hospital expect to finish its review within the next three months.

Meanwhile, a separate report from a 14-member expert group advising the Government on abortion - in the wake of the European Court of Human Rights ruling - landed on the health minister's desk last week.

The Taoiseach said the Cabinet will examine the expert group's findings before a response is given to the court judgment on or before November 30.

PA

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