Irish pro-life group Life Institute found out that pro-abortion advocates in Ireland knew about Savita Halappanavar’s death before it became public and planned to use it to push for legalized abortion in the country.
Halappanavar died Oct. 28 after a miscarriage of a child that doctors had refused to abort. Pro-abortion advocates say that Ireland’s pro-life laws—abortions are illegal except when the life of the mother is in danger—was the cause of the woman’s death. But others counter that her doctors could have legally induced the baby early and saved the mother’s life.
Irish Choice Network, a pro-abortion group, sent out an email on Nov. 11—three days before the story became public—saying that “a major news story in relation to abortion access is going to break in the media early this coming week,” according to Life Institute spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain, who obtained a copy of the email.
The message also asked members to attend a meeting that would include “more definite information around which we can make some collective decisions about how best to proceed.”
The email continued, “Apologies if this is all a little mysterious, but the reason why I didn’t want to put specific details down by email will probably be clear tomorrow.”
Three days later, Irish Choice Network supported a planned protest in Dublin calling for the legalization of abortion, which became a vigil for Halappanavar after the story of her death broke. Her death has become a rallying point for abortion advocates as thousands gathered in the streets calling for lawmakers to change Ireland’s abortion laws.
Specifically, pro-abortion advocates want to revisit X case, a 1992 Irish Supreme Court ruling that allowed a 14-year-old rape victim to have an abortion. But with large youth protests by the pro-life group Life Defence at the time, the ruling was never made into law, and abortion has been largely illegal in the past 20 years.
Today, the Irish Parliament is due to vote on a motion calling for the immediate legislation on the X case. But the outcome of the vote is uncertain as the issue of abortion has not only divided political parties in the past decades but also caused divisions within parties as well.
Life Institute’s Uí Bhriain said in a statement that the email raises questions as to who supplied Irish Choice Network with advanced information about Halappanavar’s death.
“The tragic loss of Savita Halappanavar’s life should not be exploited by campaigners,” she said. “The media and the [Health Service Executive] now needs to ask why this information seems to have been given in advance to abortion advocates.”