Urge Ireland to Make Abortion Legal

Target: Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

Goal: Legalize abortion in Ireland, especially in cases where the mother’s life is threatened

A woman recently died in an Irish hospital who was not ill nor hurt prior to her hospital visit; she was in perfect health. The woman, Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, was 17 weeks pregnant when she went to Galway University Hospital complaining of back pains. Doctors found that she was miscarrying; a week later she died of sepsis. Despite her insistence, doctors would not terminate the pregnancy.

Even after days of severe pain, knowing that the pregnancy could not possibly come to term, and that Halappanavar’s very life was threatened, hospital doctors and officials adamantly denied her an abortion. They claimed that because Ireland is “a Catholic nation” and because a fetal heartbeat was detected they would not perform the procedure. She had to wait days for the fetus to slowly die inside of her before doctors would remove it. She quickly developed blood poisoning and passed away a week later. Their inaction led directly to Halappanavar’s death.

What makes this even more regrettable of a situation is that abortion when the mother’s life is threatened is not necessarily illegal in Ireland; it has simply not yet been legislated. Some 80% of Irish voters even would support a law legalizing it, but no political parties have stepped up and made it a priority yet.

This cannot go on. This lack of legislation combined with the doctors’ blind failure to act led directly to a woman’s death. Savita Halappanavar’s life could have been saved if medical professionals had acted in a timely manner. This tragedy was avoidable. Let the Irish government know that it is time they make abortion, at least in cases when the mother’s life is threatened, officially legal.


Dear President Higgins,

Recently, a woman died at Galway University Hospital. However, unlike other patients she was not sick nor was she the victim of some terrible accident. She was four months pregnant and went to the hospital because of back pains. While there she found out she was miscarrying—the fetus inside her was dying and there was nothing anyone could do to save it.

Despite the unbearable pain she experienced, her attending doctors would not terminate the pregnancy, citing the presence of a fetal heartbeat and Ireland’s status as a “Catholic nation.” Their inaction killed the woman, a 31-year-old dentist, and an active and productive member of society. They made her spend days in excruciating pain, waiting for the fetus to die, before they would remove it from her body. She developed sepsis because of this and died soon after.

Abortion must officially be made legal, especially in cases like this one, when the life of the mother is threatened. Regardless of your religion, the life of the mother must come first. The vast majority of your people are in favor of similar legislation. Please keep this in mind and make abortion legal in Ireland; hopefully this kind of tragedy never has to happen again.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: infomatique via flickr

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  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
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