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Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in Life | 4 comments

It’s time to legislate

It’s time to legislate

I woke this morning to a story that shocked me to my core: Calls for X Case legislation after woman denied an abortion dies in Galway hospital

Savita Praveen Halappanavar died from septicaemia following a miscarriage which lasted almost three days. She repeatedly asked for the foetus to be removed but her requests were turned down.

We don’t know the full facts of this case. I have no idea whether or not the termination she requested would have saved Savita’s life. But this I do know from the accounts I have read. Her baby was never going to survive. Her doctors knew it, her husband knew it, she knew it. But because the baby still had a heartbeat, whatever its prognosis, Savita was condemned to wait for “nature to take its course”.

I heard her husband in an interview this evening, as he spoke of how much physical and mental anguish she was suffering when she repeatedly requested a termination to hasten an end to the miscarriage that everyone seemed in agreement was happening. It doesn’t bear thinking about. When I suffered my miscarriages, they were in the early weeks of pregnancy, and thankfully the pain didn’t last more than a day each time. The thoughts of being so much further along, and suffering for days and days – well it horrifies me. Where is the compassion for this woman? Where is the dignity afforded to her?

As a pregnant woman, who’ll be 21 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and given the timelines quoted in this story, who most likely has a due date very close to that of Savita, I couldn’t listen to his account of their ordeal without crying. The stark reality of the situation is that if a nightmare occurred, and something happened to this much wanted baby that I am carrying, I would face the same horror that faced Savita. And until something is done to fix this travesty, that is the truth for any woman who chooses to be pregnant in Ireland.

The media is full of discussions about pro-choice, pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice…but those discussions are irrelevant to this story as far as I am concerned. For me, this is a story about the need for legislation to protect (or indeed provide) the right to a termination for medical reasons in Ireland. Whether the medical reason is that the life of the mother is at risk, or that the baby has been deemed to be incompatible with life, the right to a termination should be granted in law.

It is not that long since I wrote “Incompatible with life“, a post about the barbaric treatment of women in Ireland who are forced to travel to another country to end their pregnancies if they wish to do so, once they have been told that the baby will not survive after birth, or will die before the pregnancy ends. There are those in this country who think that in that situation, the woman should just see the pregnancy through. Where is their compassion? How can they not see the suffering their stance causes? It shames me today to belong to a country where this is the rule of law.

I am furious that government after government has attempted to sweep this issue under the carpet. And now it is too late. A woman has lost her life and that can never be undone. So no more…no more excuses or delays. This country has already voted to change the constitution to allow termination to ensure the right to life for a mother. It is time for our government to legislate to enshrine that right into law.

If you do nothing else today, please visit the National Women’s Council of Ireland site, where they have set up a system to allow you to easily lobby the TDs in your constituency. Please don’t wait until the next heartbreaking story – make yourself heard today: Legislate for X

I know that the X case legislation won’t cover provide the much needed right to a termination for medical reasons when it is found that your baby is not viable. But it is a start. And right now, we just need to start somewhere, because this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

My deepest sympathies go out to Savita’s family and friends. I am truly sorry for what has happened.

Read what some of the other Irish Parenting Bloggers have to say about this tragic case:


  1. I wholeheartedly agree Lisa. The nation spoke when the referendum was passed. Successive governments have failed to honour our constitutional rights by not legislating for the X case for purely short term political interests. It’s an outrage.
    Mind The Baby recently posted..The fourth trimester: Take it easy mamaMy Profile

  2. This story was in the Toronto papers today. My heart ached for this woman, her husband, and her family. I hope some good comes of this tragedy and the appropriate legislation takes place.

  3. You have done a great service to this woman by reporting this story, especially since you are due around the same time as Savita. I am appalled and ashamed that this happened and 100% agree with you that it is time to legislate.


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