Did Ireland’s Pro-life Law Kill Savita Halappanavar?

This case has been brewing on the web for a while. A 31-year old dentist who was 17-weeks pregnant named Savita Halappanavar went to the hospital in Galway, Ireland with severe back pain. After an examination, she was found to be in the process of a miscarriage, but the doctors kept a wait and see approach. There were concerned that there was a fetal heart beat and that Irish law does not permit the termination of a pregnancy when the baby is still alive. The poor woman died three days later from septicemia. The whole thing seems rather dodgy at first glance.

The facts have yet to completely come out. Therefore, rushing to judgment seems rash. Having said that, Dr. Jen Gunter, a Canadian OBGYN has blogged on the clinical aspects of the case and is quite convinced that the Irish physicians did not follow established medical protocol.

See Dr. Gunter’s analysis here.  She believes that Irish law allows for termination of pregnancies when there is a clear medical need for such termination, and according to Dr. Gunter, there was a clear need in this case.  Her reasons are quite compelling.  Read and see for yourself.

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Professor of Biochemistry at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, MI. Have been at SAU since 1999. Author of The Stem Cell Epistles. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (1997-1999), and Sussex University, Falmer, UK (1994-1997). I studied Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Irvine (PhD 1994), and Microbiology at UC Davis (MA 1986, BS 1984).