The tragic death of Savita Halapanavaar was widely reported of course in international media, but the case also continues to make headlines in her native India. Brian O’Connell is currently in Calcutta (Kolkata) observing the work of Cork based Hope Foundation, and he has been hearing some of what locals think. He joined Pat from Kolkata.
Pressure is mounting on the government today following confirmation from Praveen Halapannavar that he will in no way co-operate with the HSE’s inquiry into his wife Savita’s death. Thirty one year old Mrs Halappanavar died at Galway University Hospital last month following a miscarriage.
Her husband Praveen has said that his wife repeatedly requested a termination when she was told her pregnancy was no longer viable. On last night’s Six One news on RTE Mr Halapannavar’s solicitor Gerard O’Donnell suggested his client could take legal action to prevent the inquiry having access to his wife’s medical records. Later, in a deeply moving interview on Prime Time Praveen Halappanavar talked about his wife’s last moments.
The question this morning is where does the inquiry into his wife’s death go from here, can it proceed in its current form and can the government and the HSE decide to change course. Joining Pat were Michael O’Regan Parliamentary Correspondent of the Irish Times and barrister and former practising GP Simon Mills. We asked for a government spokesperson but nobody was available.
So has government inactivity on the issue of abortion created the medical ‘grey area’ that appears to exist in situations like the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar?
In this morning’s Irish Independent, coloumnist, John Downing identifies the sheer lack of a political stance on abortion as the problem that has beset the issue for generations. Pat was joined by John Downing of the Irish Independent; Labour Senator Ivana Bacik; Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fail TD; Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sinn Fein TD and Michelle Mulkerrin of Fine Gael.
There has been a huge outpouring of sympathy for the family of 31 year old Savita Halappanaar who died of septicaemia at Galway University Hospital last month. Mrs Halappanaar who was 17 weeks pregnant presented with severe back pain and was found to be miscarrying. Her husband has claimed that Mrs Halappanaar had repeatedly asked for an abortion when she was told that the pregnancy was no longer viable. Of course, we won’t know the exact details of the case until the two reports which have been commissioned are completed but this tragic case has once again catapulted the abortion controversy back to the top of the news agenda. And decades into the debate how will our politicians respond this time around and will they have the political will to legislate in such a highly contentious area?
Joining Pat was Senator Ronan Mullen and Dr Mary Favier, a GP in Cork and member of the group Doctors For Choice.