In memory Savita Halappanavar. Reform of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness,  we demand 21st Century Health Care provision for the women of Ireland both North and South.

Last month Savita Halappanaravar died in University Hospital, Galway after being denied a termination of her non-viable pregnancy. Despite repeated requests for medical assistance and though experiencing great suffering, she was left to the die in agony. This wholly unnecessary and tragic death was entirely preventable, but due to the thoughtless, theocratic legal restraints that exist in Ireland, both North and South (Offences against the Person Act, 1861). As a consequence of this draconian legislation, Savita’s care providers were left unwilling and unable to provide any semblance of adequate medical intervention.

In our pluralist and supposedly modern country, such state condoned negligence is no longer acceptable. Savita is but the latest and most publicised victim of this abhorrent situation. Countless other women have had to resort to illegal terminations, with all the horrific consequences that this entails or flee the country of their birth to receive adequate health provision. No more.                                                                                                                            

Immediate reform of this outmoded, inhumane and ill-defined legislation is essential, if we are to regard ourselves as a modern and compassionate country, both North and South.     

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