Savita Halappanavar: Public uses social media to push for new legislation

15 Nov 2012

Savita Halappanavar

Members of the public are taking to Twitter and Facebook to gather support in a call for change and clarification to Ireland’s abortion laws following the death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital.

Halappanavar arrived at University Hospital Galway on 21 October with back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be having a miscarriage. Her husband Praveen has alleged that doctors refused several requests for a medical termination because the foetus’ heartbeat was present. Savita underwent surgery on 23 October. She died of septicaemia on 28 October.

Under the Irish Constitution, abortion is allowed in circumstances where there is a “real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother, which can only be avoided by a termination of the pregnancy”. Successive court judgments have shown up the limitations of this article and the Government has been slow to provide more precise guidance in the form of legislation, The Irish Times reported.

Now, the public is pushing for change, urging others to do the same via social media.

Photos and links to resources are appearing on Facebook and Twitter, where #savita and #ripsavita have been trending for the past two days.

Twitter and Facebook users have been sharing a link to the National Women’s Council of Ireland website, where users can email a letter to their TDs. A sample letter is already provided, but users can modify it if they wish.


Others are suggesting people send The Gathering postcards that landed in postboxes this past week to Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore, with messages saying invitations to others to come to Ireland will only be issued when legislation is changed.



Tweets are also highlighting the candlelit vigil to take place on Saturday at 4pm at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin, followed by a march to the Dáil.


And one new tweet spotlights a demonstration to reportedly take place in Cork, as well:

Cork tweet

On Facebook, a page set up yesterday, RIP Savita Halappanavar, is quickly gathering followers. At writing, it has received just over 500 ‘Likes’. Most of the messages on the page express shock and sorrow.

A health service inquiry has said it will take three months to compile a report on the circumstances of Halappanavar’s death.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic