Vigil for Savita
Over 200 people attended a vigil for Savita Halapannavar , outside the Irish Embassy in London on Saturday 18th November. Savita, a 31 year old dentist of Indian origin, was 17 weeks pregnant but was in serious pain and miscarrying. However, her request for a termination at her local hospital in the republic of Ireland was refused, leading to her tragic death from septicaemia in October. Savita’s husband said that the medical staff at the hospital responded to Savita’s plea for an abortion by saying ‘We are a Catholic country’.
Meena Patel from Southall Black Sisters was one of the speakers at the vigil. She said “Savita’s memory lives on for many millions of other women who are fighting for a separation of the state and church and to release the stranglehold of religion on women’s reproductive rights”.
SBS has campaigned over 20 years against the interference of religion in public services and sees Savita’s case as a sad reminder of the terrible price paid by women for religious fundamentalism. SBS is keen to see the antiquated abortion laws being reformed in Ireland so women have the same freedom to choose as we do in the UK. Abortion continues to be illegal in the Republic with thousands of women fleeing to the UK in fear to have abortions performed. Had Savita been in India, doctors would not have hesitated to protect her life above that of her unborn foetus.
Image credit and copyright: Sheila Smith