Did Savita Halappanavar Die Because of Pro-Life Laws?

Savita Halappanaver demonstrators

In the wake of an Irish pro-life video proclaiming that abortion is never needed to save a woman’s life, Savita Halappanavar died in Galway, Ireland following a miscarriage. Her husband Praveen claims that she was denied an abortion, a procedure that would have saved her life. According to ABC News:

At the Galway University Hospital, Halappanavar’s fetal heartbeat stopped nearly three days after she arrived on Oct. 21. Doctors evacuated Halappanavar’s uterus, but she died of septicemia, or blood poisoning, on Oct. 28, according the Irish Times, which cited the autopsy report.1

Halappanavar’s death has sparked massive protest rallies of Ireland’s strict abortion laws. Thousands took to the streets to call for legalized abortion in the small country. But Youth Defence, an Irish pro-life organization, says that it is “regrettable that some people are seeking to use this tragedy as an argument for legislating for the Supreme Court decision in X.”2

This is an extreme case of jumping the gun. The investigation of Halappanavar’s death has not been completed (in fact, it has barely begun) and for the media to be already claiming that the abortion laws are responsible for the death is shameful. Youth Defence points out that,

“According to an article in the Irish Times, it seems that the administration of antibiotics may not have started until the Tuesday following Savita Halappanavar’s first presenting at the hospital. The delay may have contributed to the septicaemia which tragically led to her death, but only the result of an investigation will reveal the full facts.”3

In other words, the simple administration of antibiotics may have been enough to save Halappanavar’s life. It is disgusting that the liberal media, without having the facts, is already using the young woman’s death to demonize Ireland’s pro-life laws and incite the Irish people.

Youth Defence points out in their official statement that Ireland’s laws require doctors to save the life of the mother in cases where she will die if her child is not aborted. Thus, it was not adherence to but violation of the law that caused Mrs. Halappanavar’s death, assuming an abortion would have saved her.4


1. Lupkin, Sydney. “Ireland Probes Death of Miscarrying Woman Seeking Abortion.” ABC News. 2012. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/irish-abortion-denial-death-preventable-doctors/story?id=17720871#.UKuSMeQ83NM>

2. “Savita death ‘not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion’ – Youth Defence.” TheJournal.ie. 2012. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.thejournal.ie/savita-youth-defence-abortion-674078-Nov2012/>

3. “The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar’s life was not caused by Ireland’s ban on abortion.” Youth Defence. 2012. Youth Defence. Nov. 21 2012. <http://www.youthdefence.ie/latest-news/the-tragic-loss-of-savita-halappanavars-life-was-not-caused-by-irelands-ban-on-abortion/>

4. Ibid.

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