Woman’s Death Sparks Abortion Debate in Ireland

Ireland’s Health Service Executive has begun an investigation into the hospital where a woman died after being refused the abortion that would have saved her life, according to the Irish Times. Thirty-one-year-old Savita Halappanavar arrived at University Hospital Galway seventeen weeks pregnant and complaining of back pain. Although doctors told her she was miscarrying, they refused to terminate the pregnancy as long as there was a fetal heartbeat because, they said, Ireland is a “Catholic country.” A week later, Halappanavar died from blood poisoning in the intensive care unit. Politicians are already using the case to advocate for clearer abortion in laws in Ireland, where abortion is still largely illegal (most women travel to the U.K.), but gaining popular support. Hospitals are reluctant to perform abortions because the laws are so vague, but the island’s first abortion clinic opened last month. Now everyone forward this terrible story to defeated Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh.