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A New York vigil is being planned for Savita Halappanavar, the young Indian dentist who died in a Galway hospital after being refused an abortion of her non viable fetus. Photo by: Irish Times

New York protest planned over pregnant Indian woman’s death in Irish hospital

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A New York vigil is being planned for Savita Halappanavar, the young Indian dentist who died in a Galway hospital after being refused an abortion of her non viable fetus. Photo by: Irish Times

A New York vigil for Savita Halappanavar, the young Indian dentist who died in a Galway hospital after being refused an abortion of her non viable fetus will be held at Barnard College in Manhattan on Monday night from 5:00 to 6:00 organizers have announced.

International and Irish anger over Ireland’s abortion laws continues with rallies being planned in Dublin, on Saturday, New York, on Monday, India and other locations around the world. However, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said that the government will not be rushed into making a decision on the abortion laws of Ireland following the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Galway.

Savita was denied an abortion due to Irish law. The 17-week pregnant, medical professional, begged for a termination, as she was in the middle of a miscarriage. Instead the doctors waited to operate until the fetus’ heart had stopped. Savita died of blood poisoning. The 31-year-old Indian dentist’s husband told the press that his wife was in agony for days before she died on October 28.

Since her death there has been outrage among Ireland’s residents and around the globe over the lack of abortion legislation in Ireland. Although 20 years ago Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of abortions being legal if the mother’s life was at risk no government thus far has tackled the issue.

Speaking to RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, on Friday, Enda Kenny said “This is a matter that has divided Irish society now for a great number of years, and I am not going to be rushed into a situation by force of numbers on any side.”

He added “This is something that has to be dealt with rationally, and openly and truthfully and that is what will happen.”

On Thursday evening Eamon Gilmore, the Deputy Prime Minister, had pledged that the Irish government would clarify Ireland’s abortion laws. An expert report carried out by Ireland’s Ministry for Health was submitted to the government this week and will be published having been discussed by the government.

In India the government has vowed to take up the matter of abortion with the Irish government through diplomatic channels, the Times of India reports. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, of the Karnataka government, in the south west region of India wrote a letter to Savita’s father Andaneppa Yalagi and Belgaum deputy commissioner, Anbu Kumar, expressing his condolences.

Shettar wrote “I was pained to know a precious life was lost because proper medical care was refused...Humanity precedes legality” and said the Galway hospital should have considered an abortion.

The Minister continued "This is a serious issue. There is a lot of public anger and protest. To ensure justice to the victim, we are taking up the issue with Ireland through the government of India.”

Savita’s father, Andaneppa, said “If the Irish law on abortion is changed, I would think my daughter has been sacrificed for a good cause.

“We are happy the issue is being discussed internationally to change the law. Protests and social campaigns are being carried out in Ireland. Our government also needs to pressure them. If it works and the law is changed, then my daughter will rest in peace."

Andaneppa said their son-in-law, Praveen Halappanavar, was ready “to lead the social change in Ireland. He added “We'll do our bit in India.”

The Hindu reports that India's Ambassador to Ireland Debashish Chakravarti met the Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Friday and conveyed New Delhi’s concerns over Savita death and, as the newspaper put it, Ireland’s “the country’s archaic anti-abortion law."
 

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