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28th Oct 2021

Vigil held at the Dáil to mark nine years since Savita Halappanavar’s death

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Together For Yes backs call to name abortion legislation 'Savita's law'

Thinking of her.

A vigil was held on Thursday evening outside the Dáil to mark the nine-year anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s death.

Savita was a 31-year-old Indian dentist who passed away in hospital in Galway after she was refused an abortion as she miscarried.

Passing away in 2012, she was one of the main reasons for Ireland’s abortion referendum in 2018.

People travelling from every corner of Ireland to attend the vigil in Dublin city centre this evening, with candles lit and a banner stating that no more religious involvement should be associated with Ireland’s new national maternity hospital.

Ailbhe Smyth, one of the leaders of the yes campaign that legalised abortion in Ireland, spoke at the vigil.

She said: “It is really important that we keep on saying what we said then, when the crowds poured out onto the streets all over Ireland, to express their sadness and also their anger that this could happen to any woman in Ireland, in 2012. What we said then was ‘never again’.

“And indeed, over the past nine years, we have made many changes, not least of which was the repeal of the eighth amendment.”

Savita passed away in Galway University Hospital in 2012 after contracting sepsis while miscarrying.

She had been denied a termination by doctors and told that Ireland was “a Catholic country.”

Following Ireland’s ‘Yes’ vote to repeal the eighth amendment on May 25, Savita’s father, Andanappa Yalagi, said that he was “very happy” and that he had “got justice” for his daughter.

He told the Hindustan Times: “We’ve got justice for Savita. What happened to her will not happen to any other family.

“I have no words to express my gratitude to the people of Ireland at this historic moment.”