It would be so easy to write about my day. To describe the last of the stunningly beautiful leaves on the Sycamore tree and how I watched my neighbour from down the way wheel his barrow by this house. I could write about the cake I baked and how I did not make enough frosting to cover it and how I had to make do. But I can't. I have to write about Savita Halappanavar.
You have probably never heard of her but let me tell you that she and her husband came to live in Ireland in 2008. Savita was 27, her husband, Praveen, 31. She had trained as a dentist in India and passed the Irish Dental exams last year. Her husband worked as an engineer with an American Company in Galway. They settled in a suburb of Galway. Savita was a 'wonderful classical indian dancer'. She taught Irish children Indian dances. She had a diamond in one of her teeth and the children who admired it were told that they would have to go to India to get that done.
Savita died a month ago in Galway. She was 17 weeks pregnant. She presented at the hospital in Galway complaining of back pain. She was found to be miscarrying. Over the course of a three-day period she requested that the pregnancy be terminated. The request was refused. She and her husband, Praveen, were told ''this is a Catholic country''. She died of Septicaeamia a week later.
Throughout this period, Savita was in agony. On the 23rd October, the consultant reiterated to Savita that this is a Catholic country. Savita replied; (a hindu) that I am neither Irish nor Catholic, but they said there was nothing they could do. That evening, Savita developed shakes and shivering and vomiting. The rest is too painful to write.
Savita's husband took her home to Goa on November 1st to be cremated.
I hang my head in shame. It is overdue that we extricate the church from the state in this country. Our medieval nightmare has existed for way too long. The nightmare has to stop. I hang my head in shame to be an Irish woman who has for far too long tolerated the dictate of men in white collars in shrines of marble who know nothing. Nothing at all.
I think of Savita tonight. The hospital. The pure desolation of the lonely ward and the lack of answers. The cold shaking of heads and I shed my tears. I wish Savita had never come here. To this prison of a church with bolted doors. And a room full of men who know nothing, nothing at all.