Savita Halappanavar Death: Husband, Parents Speak Out After Woman Denied Abortion In Ireland

By Melissa Siegel on November 15, 2012 10:04 AM EST

Savita
Savita Halappanavar's death has sparked protests across Ireland. (Photo: REUTERS)

Savita Halappanavar's death after being denied an abortion at an Irish hospital has sparked international outcry. Now, the woman's husband and family are speaking out.

Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband, told the Daily Mail that he begged doctors at University Hospital Galway to perform the abortion. Savita was reportedly dealing with severe back pain and going through a miscarriage, but doctors in the Catholic country of Ireland refused to terminate the pregnancy.  They reportedly claimed that they could not perform the abortion since the fetus still had a heartbeat.

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Savita Halappanavar died from septicamemia on October 28. The disorder, commonly known as blood poisoning, occurs when bacteria forms in the blood, according to Irish Health.

Praveen Halappanavar told the paper that on the night of his wife's death, a nurse ran up to him as he stood outside of the intensive care unit at 1 a.m.

"She just told me to be brave, and she took me near Savita, and she said, 'Will you be ok to be there, living her last minutes?'" Praveen Halappanavar said.  "I said, 'Yes, I want to.' I was holding her hand, they were trying to pump her heart, there was a big team around. The doctor just told me they lost her."

Praveen Halappanavar remains convinced that an abortion could have saved his wife's life and hopes the country's laws will eventually change.

"I tried to plead with the doctors that I am not Irish or a Catholic, so please help and terminate her pregnancy," he told the Daily Mail. "I hope they change the law and make it more people-friendly [rather] than on the basis of religious beliefs."

Ireland's constitution bans abortions, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling said they should be legalized in cases where the mother's life is at risk. But the national government has refused to pass a law on the issue. Doctors thus remain reluctant to perform abortions except in the most dire circumstances, according to the Associated Press.

Savita Halappanavar's death has led to protests around the country. Nearly 2,000 gathered by the Irish Parliament on Wednesday, while another 40 also protested outside the Irish embassy in London.

The country's abortion laws have also been attacked by the young woman's parents.

"In an attempt to save a 4-month-old fetus they killed my 30-year-old daughter," Savita Halappanavar's mother told Indian television stations. "How is that fair you tell me?

"How many more cases will there be?" she added. "The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians."

Meanwhile, Savita Halappanavar's father told the press that a combination of doctor negligence and Irish law led to his daughter's death.

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