In the referendum, people in Ireland voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent
The still-grieving father of Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of sepsis in 2012 after being denied an abortion during a miscarriage, has welcomed the result of Ireland’s landmark referendum to overturn the abortion ban, saying “we have got justice for Savita”.
Savita’s death was a catalyst for the movement to repeal the eighth amendment, paving the way for new legislation to allow for the termination of pregnancies in the predominantly Catholic country.
The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, is now set to be replaced. In the referendum held on Friday and results announced on Saturday, people in Ireland voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4 per cent to 33.6 per cent. Hundreds of people chanted Savita’s name soon after the outcome of the referendum was announced.
Ireland’s Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of liberalisation, said it was “a historic day for Ireland,” and that a “quiet revolution” had taken place.
Varadkar told people at Dublin Castle that the result showed the Irish public “trust and respect women to make their own decision and choices”.
Reacting to the outcome of the referendum, Andanappa Yalagi, Savita’s father said he was “very happy”.
Yalagi said: “We’ve got justice for Savita, and what happened to her will not happen to any other family now.
“I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment,” he said.
He said Savita’s death had devastated the family.
“It’s still very emotional after five years. I think about her every day,” he said.
An independent inquiry into Savita’s treatment found there had been an “over-emphasis on the need not to intervene until the foetal heart had stopped”, as well as poor patient monitoring and risk assessment. It strongly recommended that the Irish parliament consider changing the law, and “any necessary constitutional change”.
Savita’s husband, Praveen Halappanavar had said that he and his wife had repeatedly asked for the pregnancy to be terminated after her admission to hospital, but they had been told: “This is a Catholic country”.
Meanwhile, the Irish Times reported that the Irish Cabinet will on Tuesday consider a request from the Minister for Health to draft the Heads of a Bill to implement the decision of the people.
Health Minister Simon Harris said he expected it be published by the summer recess and passed by the end of the year. There is a strong mandate to implement the decision of the people as soon as possible, the minister added.