Barnard College Vigil for Savita Halappanavar


Posted on November 16th, 2012 by Lauren Gutterman

A young woman has died in an Irish hospital because successive Irish governments have failed to legislate for a 20-year-old ruling on abortion in life-threatening circumstances. In the wake of Savita Halappanavar’s tragic and unnecessary death, please join us to express solidarity with the many calls for the Irish government to reform legislation as a matter of urgency. The lives of pregnant women must be protected. The government has stalled shamefully on this issue for far too long.

Never again: that is the message being delivered this week by vigils around Ireland and in international cities. Add your voice as, at Barnard – long a bastion of women’s rights – we speak out to let the Irish government know that the world is watching.

What: Candlelight vigil at Lehman Lawn, Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027.

When: Monday November 19 at 5pm

Space is limited and preference will be given to CUID holders. Non CUID-holders are welcome and can register if they wish by emailing name/affiliation to savitabarnard@gmail.com

Please note that flame-burning candles are not permitted on campus due to fire regulations; flameless (i.e. battery-operated) candles will be provided and guests are also encouraged to bring their own.

Supported by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and by the Departments of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and English. Called by Belinda McKeon, visiting professor on the Creative Writing Faculty.

Why this event is happening:

On Sunday 28th October, Savita Halappanavar died in an Irish hospital after being denied a termination which would most likely have saved her life. When she was admitted to hospital on October 21st complaining of severe back pain, she was 17 weeks pregnant.

Savita was found to be miscarrying and was assured by doctors that the miscarriage would be over with in a matter of hours. However, her condition did not take its expected course, and Savita was forced to suffer an extremely painful three-day miscarriage, during which her repeated pleas for the foetus to be removed were denied. As long as the foetal heartbeat persisted, she was told, the foetus had to remain in her womb. By way of justification or explanation, the consultant informed Savita that Ireland “is a Catholic country”. Savita, who was Hindu, pointed out that she was neither Irish nor Catholic, to no avail. By the time the foetal heartbeat stopped, she was gravely ill; she had experienced prolonged exposure to infection and had developed septicaemia. Savita died three days later. She was 31 years old. She and her husband had moved to Ireland from India four years previously. Savita’s husband, Praveen, has stated that he and his wife chose Ireland as their home because they had heard it was a good place to start a family.

Under the 1992 “X” case ruling by the Irish Supreme Court, women in Ireland are legally entitled to an abortion when it is deemed necessary to save their life. However, successive Irish governments have neglected to pass legislation to reflect this ruling. Their failure to do so has placed the lives of pregnant women in danger for two decades. There exists no clear guidance for medical professionals on to how to act lawfully in a situation like the one which arose during Savita’s miscarriage. Doctors are restrained from making vital medical decisions by a fear of severe legal consequences. As the Irish Labour Party Senator Ivana Bacik wrote in the Irish Times, legislation is needed “to fulfill our international responsibilities, to provide clarity in our law and most importantly to prevent any further uncertainty for doctors.”

Until this happens, the lives of pregnant women are at risk. Help us to say to the Irish government: Legislate now.

21 comments

  1. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  2. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  3. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  4. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  5. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  6. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  7. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  8. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  9. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  10. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  11. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  12. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  13. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  14. Reminder: First of two New York candlelight vigils for #Savita Halappanavar is this evening, 5pm at @BarnardCollege: http://t.co/rwqmO74I

  15. This article is so replete with unsubstantiated allegations and factual inaccuracies as to reflect poorly on Columbia Law School as an institution that would claim to respect and vindicate the most basic principles of natural justice.

    That the death of Savita Halappanaver is a tragedy goes without saying, but it is the only assertion that can be made with confidence at this stage. It not only speculation to state that “A young woman has died in an Irish hospital because successive Irish governments have failed to legislate for a 20-year-old ruling on abortion in life-threatening circumstances.” But one that is not supported by established and approved medical practice in Ireland – helping make it one of the safest places in the world for a woman to give birth.

    A cursory review of the Guide To Professional Conduct And Ethics For Registered Medical Practitioners produced by Comhairle na nDoctúirí Leighis (The Irish Medical Council – the statutory body that regulates medical doctors in the Republic of Ireland) written in plain English and available on-line shows that in fact the ruling on abortion in life-threatening situations is both approved and implemented.

    The section on abortion reflects exactly the ruling referred to by your ‘blogger’:

    21 Abortion
    21.1 Abortion is illegal in Ireland except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life (as distinct from the health) of the mother. Under current legal precedent, this exception includes where there is a clear and substantial risk to the life of the mother arising from a threat of suicide. You should undertake a full assess¬ment of any such risk in light of the clinical research on this issue.
    21.2 It is lawful to provide information in Ireland about abortions abroad, subject to strict conditions. It is not lawful to encourage or advocate an abortion in individual cases.
    21.3 You have a duty to provide care, support and follow-up services for women who have an abortion abroad.
    21.4 In current obstetrical practice, rare complications can arise where therapeutic intervention (including termination of a pregnancy) is required at a stage when, due to extreme immaturity of the baby, there may be little or no hope of the baby surviving. In these exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to intervene to terminate the pregnancy to protect the life of the mother, while making every effort to preserve the life of the baby.

    http://www.medicalcouncil.ie/Information-for-Doctors/Professional-Conduct-Ethics/The-Guide-to-Professional-Conduct-and-Ethics-for-Registered-Medical-Practitioners.pdf

    These Guidelines were prepared with the assistance of Dr Deirdre Madden, an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center, who chaired the Ethics Working Group.

    Much has been made of the absence of legislation on this issue but Ireland is a Common Law jurisdiction and like all Common Law jurisdiction its corpus of laws is found in both legislation and decided cases – as anyone affiliated with the Columbia Law School should understand.

    Yes, the death of Savita needs to be investigated and there may be lessons to be learned from it. But so far the most shameful aspect of it is the manner in which it is being used as a “political football” to drive personal agendas.

    No self-respecting legal institution should allow itself be associated with the type of ill-informed pre-judgements scattered throughout this article. Nothing so far has been heard from the other parties involved in this tragic event. Audi partem alterem!

  16. Barnard College candlelight vigil for Savita Halappanavar this Monday http://t.co/43ooV1Dx

  17. After I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

  18. You made some good points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

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  20. propaganda and the

  21. Merci pour cette agréable moment, les photos sont très belle. Bonne continuation

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