NEW DELHI: The family of Savita Halappanavar, the Indian dentist who died last month in Ireland after she was refused an abortion by hospital authorities citing religious grounds, blamed the Irish law against abortion and the negligence of hospital staff for her death.
The incident has drawn widespread outrage, with criticism coming in from multiple quarters on a law overriding humanitarian considerations.
Her father, Andalappa Yalagi, speaking in Belgaum on Thursday, blamed such archaic laws and the rigidity of the medical practitioners for his daugther's death.
"There are two reasons: one, the ban on abortion (under) Ireland's law, and secondly, the negligence of the doctors. I can say these two factors have taken place," Yalagi said.
Her mother, A Mahadevi, said the authorities should have been sensitive to the situation and should have considered saving her life above everything else.
"It is a very important issue. The authorities there should have considered the fact that we follow the Hindu faith and they should have taken a decision after taking everything into perspective. Now it is time for our foreign ministry to take this matter up with the government of Ireland," Mahadevi said.
Death of Savita in Ireland matter of concern: India
Reacting to the tragic death of Savita, India said it was a matter of concern" and its embassy in Dublin was following the matter closely.
The external affairs ministry said: "We deeply regret the tragic death of Ms Halappanavar. The death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern."
"Our embassy in Dublin is following the matter closely," the external affairs spokesperson said, adding that the embassy was in touch with the family.
"Our sympathies have been conveyed to the next of kin who our embassy has been in touch with."
He said the Indian government was also awaiting the results of two probes ordered into the death by the Irish government. "We understand that the Irish authorities have initiated two enquiries. We are awaiting the results of the enquiries," the spokesperson added.
Denied abortion, Indian woman dies in Ireland
Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died after she was denied permission to undergo an abortion at University hospital in Galway as it is illegal in the Republic of Ireland.
Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, suffered a miscarriage and septicaemia.
The Guardian reports say that her request for a termination was denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: "This is a Catholic country."
Sky News reported that the 31-year-old dentist was suffering from agonising pain and, according to her husband, made several requests for an abortion.
Medical staff later removed the foetus after the heartbeat stopped but Savita died of septicaemia on 28 October, reports The Guardian.
Savita's husband Pravin, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, described how she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. She was in terrible pain and was miscarrying.
He said the request was refused by medical staff who said they could not do anything because there was still a foetal heartbeat. He said they were told that this was the law and that "this is a Catholic country".
He was quoted as saying that she spent over three days "in agony" until the foetal heartbeat stopped.
The dead foetus was removed, but Savita's condition deteriorated and she died.
Speaking to Irish Times from Belgaum in Karnataka where he took his wife's body for the last rites, Praveen said the doctor had told them the baby wouldn't survive. His wife was in agony, and each time the doctor came on his rounds he would tell her "As long as there is a foetal heartbeat we can't do anything."
Ireland's constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found the procedure should be legalized for situations when the woman's life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. However, five governments since then have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion. (Agencies)