Report confirms that Savita Halappanavar didn’t need to die

Savita HalappanavarAn investigation confirms that Savita Halappanavar, the Irish woman who died last year after being denied an abortion after an incomplete miscarriage, lost her life because her doctors prioritized her unviable fetus over her own health.

The report states:

“The investigating team considers there was an apparent overemphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart stopped, together with an underemphasis on the need to focus an appropriate attention on monitoring for and managing the risk of infection and sepsis in the mother.”

Halappanavar, who was carrying her first and very wanted pregnancy, went to hospital when she started miscarrying. Over three days, her life-threatening infection worsened, and she and her husband begged for an abortion to end the already unviable pregnancy. The doctors refused, because the fetus still had a heartbeat and “Ireland is a Catholic country.”

According to the report, her medical team did actually discuss the option of performing an abortion at one point. Savita’s husband said he’s not satisfied with the report since it doesn’t address why they decided not to do it. And I can’t imagine there will ever be an adequate answer to that question.

As Jodi at RH Reality Check notes, “This is the inevitable outcome of abortion bans. Women die.”

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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