Ireland ‘to clarify abortion laws’ after death of Indian woman

Savita Halappanavar died of septicaemia three days after she began miscarrying. Picture: PA
Savita Halappanavar died of septicaemia three days after she began miscarrying. Picture: PA
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IRELAND’S government has pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in hospital.

• Savita Halappanavar died after suffering miscarriage and septicaemia

• Doctors reportedly refused to carry out an abortion

• 2000 protesters gathered outside Irish parliament

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she miscarried and died last month.

“I don’t think as a country we should allow a situation where women’s rights are put at risk in this way,” Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told parliament.

“There is no question of equivocation. We need to bring legal clarity to this issue and that is what we are going to do,” he said.

The Irish government confirmed that Mrs Halappanavar suffered from blood poisoning and died after being denied an abortion, reigniting the debate over legalising abortion in the predominantly Catholic country.

Her parents hit out at the country’s abortion laws today.

“In an attempt to save a four-month-old foetus they killed my 30-year-old daughter. How is that fair you tell me?” Mrs A Mahadevi, Mrs Halappanavar’s mother, told Indian TV.

“How many more cases will there be? The rules should be changed as per the requirement of Hindus. We are Hindus, not Christians,” she said.

Savita Halappanavar’s father, Mr Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter’s death.

The spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, said in a Twitter post that the Indian Embassy in Dublin was “following the matter”.

Mrs Halappanavar’s husband, Praveen, said doctors at University Hospital Galway in western Ireland determined that his wife was miscarrying within hours of her being taken to hospital in severe pain on October 21. He said over the next three days, doctors refused their requests for an abortion to combat her pain and fading health.