Letter from 53 MEPs to Taoiseach regarding tragic death of Savita Halappanavar

An Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny TDDepartment of An TaoiseachGovernment BuildingsUpper Merrion StreetDublin 2

An Taoiseach Mr Enda Kenny TD
Department of An Taoiseach
Government Buildings
Upper Merrion Street
Dublin 2


18 November 2012

Re: Case of Savita Halappanavar

Dear Taoiseach,

We were shocked to hear of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar following the decision by consultants at Galway University Hospital in Ireland not to proceed with the termination of an unviable foetus. She developed septicaemia from E Coli after she was refused a timely termination of an unviable miscarrying 17 week-old foetus. She was denied a termination because there remained a foetal heart beat and according to her husband she was told that we “live in a Catholic country.” We express our deep sympathy to her family and friends.

This tragedy highlights the need for immediate action to introduce legislation for abortion in Ireland. Despite the ruling of the Supreme Court in Ireland in the ‘X case’ that abortion should be permitted in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, successive governments have failed to legislate for this. In the A, B and C v Ireland case, the European Court of Human Rights found that Ireland had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide an accessible and effective procedure by which a woman can have established whether she qualifies for a legal abortion under current Irish law.

In order to give support and legal clarity for health care professionals we call on the Irish authority responsible for the health service, the Health Service Executive (HSE), to immediately issue a directive allowing for immediate terminations of unviable foetuses to save women from severe pain and protect their health and life.

Ms. Halappanavar is now the victim of this inaction. We feel that the Irish government should immediately bring forth legislation to permit abortion in cases where the mother’s life or health is endangered as a first step towards the establishment of women’s right to choose in Ireland.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Murphy MEP (GUE/NGL, Ireland)

Mikael Gustafsson MEP, Chair of the women’s Rights and Equality committee (GUE/NGL, Sweden)

Sonia Alfano MEP (ALDE, Italy)

Eric Andrieu MEP (S&D, France)

Catherine Bearder MEP (ALDE, UK)

Franziska Brantner MEP (Green/EFA, Germany)

Michael Cashman MEP (S&D, UK)

Nikolaos Chountis MEP (GUE/NGL, Greece)

Minodora Cliveti MEP (S&D, Romania)

Leonidas Donskis MEP (ALDE, Lithuania)

Cornelia Ernst MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

João Ferreira MEP (GUE/NGL, Portugal)

Sylvie Guillaume MEP (S&D, France)

Anna Hedh MEP (S&D, Sweden)

Jacky Hénin MEP (GUE/NGL, France)

Mary Honeyball MEP (S&D, UK)

Nicole Kiil-Nielsen MEP (Green/EFA, France)

Jürgen Klute MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Jean Lambert MEP (Green/EFA, UK)

Patrick Le Hyaric MEP (GUE/NGL, France)

Kartika Tamara Liotard MEP (GUE/NGL, Netherlands)

Sabine Lösing MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Sarah Ludford MEP (ALDE, UK)

David Martin MEP (S&D, UK)

Marisa Matias MEP (GUE/NGL, Portugal)

Linda McAvan MEP (S&D, UK)

Arlene McCarthy MEP (S&D, UK)

Jean-Luc Mélenchon MEP (GUE/NGL, France)

Willy Meyer MEP (GUE/NGL, Spain)

Ana Miranda MEP (Green/EFA, Spain)

Claude Moraes MEP (S&D, UK)

Antigoni Papadopoulou MEP (S&D, Cyprus)

Niccolò Rinaldi MEP (ALDE, Italy)

Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP (Green/EFA, Spain)

Helmut Scholz MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Brian Simpson MEP (S&D, UK)

Alda Sousa MEP (GUE/NGL, Portugal)

Bart Staes MEP (Green/EFA, Belgium)

Catherine Stihler MEP (S&D, UK)

Claudiu Ciprian Tanasescu MEP (S&D, Romania)

Marc Tarabella MEP (S&D, Belgium)

Keith Taylor MEP (Green/EFA, UK)

Rebecca Taylor MEP (ALDE, UK)

Isabelle Thomas MEP (S&D, France)

Britta Thomsen MEP (S&D, Denmark)

Catherine Trautmann MEP (S&D, France)

Kyriacos Triantaphyllides MEP (GUE/NGL, Cyprus)

Derek Vaughan MEP (S&D, UK)

Marie-Christine Vergiat MEP (GUE/NGL, France)

Cecilia Wikström MEP (ALDE, Sweden)

Sabine Wils MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Gabi Zimmer MEP (GUE/NGL, Germany)

Inês Zuber MEP (GUE/NGL, Portugal)

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