Thousands in Ireland march for woman refused an abortion

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Thousands of people marched through Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 17 to protest over the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar who died of blood poisoning after being refused an abortion.

More than 10,000 people gathered for a vigil and march over the death and the country's draconian abortion laws.

A minute's silence was held at Merrion Square by the crowd, followed by chants "never again."

Irish doctors appear to have judged that leaving Ms Halappanavar for two days with a fully opened cervix did not present any risk of the infection from which she eventually died.

Instead, she was allegedly told that "Ireland is a Catholic country," implying that abortion was, therefore, out of the question.

Speakers from socialist parties, women's groups and abortion rights activists addressed Saturday's crowd from a flatbed lorry.

They decried the fact that two decades had passed without any political decision to define more closely when hospitals could or could not, perform abortions.

"Twenty years is far too long. Ignoring women's rights is wrong!" the crowd chanted.

Sinead Ahern from Choice Ireland told them: "We hope the people who loved Savita know how sorry we are for what happened to her."

About 1,000 people staged a rally in Galway, where the Halappavanars settled in 2008.

Some placed candles spelling Savita on the pavement in Galway's central Eyre Square.

Ms Halappanavar's husband Praveen took her body back to India for a Hindu funeral service and cremation on November 3 but intends to return to his job as a medical devices engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway.

Irish law on abortion is a rat's nest of contradictions and the Irish government has done little to untangle it.

A 1992 [Irish] Supreme Court ruling found abortion should be allowed when a continued pregnancy could endanger the woman's life but successive governments have refused to bring forward any legislation to resolve the contentious issue.

Reposted from Morning Star

Photo: Protesters light candles in memory of Savita Halappanavar during a rally outside Ireland's government headquarters in Dublin, Nov. 17. Thousands marched to the spot to demand that the government draft a law defining when abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Shawn Pogatchnik/AP

 

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