Abortion row: India to formally take up issue with Ireland today
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said that India's envoy to Ireland will today formally raise New Delhi's concerns over the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who died in a hospital there from blood poisoning after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy.
"This has something to do with the existing arrangements and existing legal framework within Ireland based perhaps on religious belief. But we do sincerely hope that there can be no greater matter of religious belief than the obligation to save the life of a mother. If you cannot save the child, you could at least save the life of a mother," Khurshid said.
"But this is really for the Irish government to examine and I do believe that in all sensitivity they will examine and see what can be done, what should have been done? They have instituted two enquiries. We will also today formally approach the Irish government through our mission and seek their indulgence and certainly seek their response on our very sad concern," he added.
Earlier, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat described the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar as a culpable crime, and asked the Indian Government to intervene with the Irish authorities and see that justice is delivered to her family members.
Karat said the case involving the death of an Indian woman in Ireland shows the utter insensitivity of governments who want to control bodies of women in the name of religion.
"This case in Ireland is particularly shocking, because it is nothing but a culpable crime. In the first place, no religion mandates that you watch a woman dying and you refuse to give her an abortion, which is what she needed. So, this is a culpable crime," said Karat.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Balbir Punj also echoed similar sentiments in connection with the case.
"The Indian Foreign Office must take it up very strongly with the Government of Ireland pointing out the fact that the patient, the lady in this case who is of Indian origin, she was not a catholic Christian and she kept on saying repeatedly that 'my faith allows I want an abortion to be done', but it was denied to her on religious grounds and which has virtually cost her life. So, it's very unfortunate," he said.
Halappanavar, a dentist, was reportedly denied a potentially lifesaving abortion even while she was having a miscarriage.
The 31-year-old Indian woman died in Ireland from blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion on grounds that as a Catholic-dominant country, it forbids such an act.