As protests over Savita Halappanavar’s death spread with Indian immigrants in Britain on Sunday holding a rally in Leicester, her father made an emotional direct appeal to the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to change the country’s archaic anti-abortion law which cost his daughter her life.
“Sir, please change your law and take consideration of humanity. Please change the law on abortion, which will help to save the lives of so many women in the future,” said Andanappa Yalagi speaking to The Observer in Belgaum.
He wanted the Indian Government to put pressure on Ireland on the issue and said he planned to take legal action against Galway University hospital where Savita died after being refused abortion despite apparent risk to her life.
“I want to take legal action against them over the inhumane way they treated my daughter,” he said.
Meanwhile, Indian protesters in Leicester echoed his call for changes to the abortion law which, they said, ran counter to women’s democratic right to choice and was inconsistent with international human rights laws.
``It’s not about the rights or wrongs of abortion but about taking sensible action when the life of a woman is in danger,’’ said Nagender Chindam, Chairman Pravasi Bharat which organised the protest.
A woman activist, Bijal Bhagwan, said it was tragic that doctors in one of the world’s most advanced nations had allowed a woman to die.
Earlier, the protesters gathered at Mahatma Gandhi’s statue and raised slogans calling for a more ``humane’’ approach to abortion. They also held a vigil in Savita’s memory.
The rally came a day after thousands of people marched through Dublin on Saturday to express anger over Savita’s death. They vowed that they would ``never again’’ allow such a thing to happen to another woman.
Savita’s father said the doctors at Galway hospital were ``not humane’’.
“They are doctors but they were not humane. If they had been humane, they would have treated her. I do not want this to happen to other people. I am very angry.”
Mr Yalagi and his wife Akkamahadevi recalled Savita’s ``excitement’’ when she learned she was pregnant.
“She was very excited and she said that she really wanted a daughter,” said Mr Yalagi. “She had a great love for the female child.”
Her mother said the family was still trying to come to terms with her death.
“It was so unexpected. The last time we saw her in the hospital in Galway she was smiling and saying that they were providing good food. She was in a normal room and we thought that it was nothing serious,” she said.
Days later she was dead.
Ireland’s Health Minister James Reilly said Savita’s family would have inputs into the terms of reference for the inquiry into her death.