Widower Plans To Sue Irish Government Over Wife's Death
December 3, 2012 — The widower of a woman who died after being denied an abortion at an Irish hospital plans to sue the nation's government in the European Court of Human Rights, CNN reports (CNN, 11/30).
Savita Halappanavar -- a 31-year-old dentist originally from India -- was miscarrying and in severe pain when she was admitted to the hospital in late October (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/19). Doctors refused her request to terminate the pregnancy for three days because a fetal heartbeat was detectable. Halappanavar died of a blood infection four days later (CNN 11/30).
Praveen Halappanavar, her widower, decided to sue because he believes Irish officials did not adequately investigate the situation. There were two government investigations, but his request to the Irish Health Minister for a public inquiry into the death remained unanswered as of Thursday. Halappanavar also has alleged that his wife's medical records were tampered with (CNN, 11/30).
Savita Halappanavar's death has forced Ireland to reconsider calls to clarify its abortion laws. For two decades, lawmakers have failed to enact legislation regarding when the procedure is needed to save a woman's life (AP/Miami Herald, 11/29). On Wednesday, Prime Minister Enda Kenny called for a legislative decision on the issue as soon as possible (CNN, 11/30).