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Woman dies after abortion refusal in Ireland

Two investigations have been launched in Ireland into the death of a woman in childbirth who had been refused an abortion.

Savita Halappanavar died at University Hospital, Galway on 28 October. According to a BBC report, the 31 year-old dentist, originally came from India, repeatedly asked for an abortion before her death as she was suffering badly from back pain and miscarrying.

Her husband Praveen told the BBC that hospital staff refused because they could detect a foetal heartbeat. He is convinced his wife would still be alive if the abortion had been allowed.

Mr Halappanavar added: “It was her first baby, first pregnancy and you know she was on top of the world basically. She was so happy and everything was going well, she was so excited. On the Saturday night everything changed, she started experiencing back pain so we called into the hospital, the university hospital.”

She asked a consultant if the birth could be induced, her husband recalled. “They said unfortunately she can’t because it’s a Catholic country. Savita said to her she is not Catholic, she is Hindu, and why impose the law on her. But she said ‘I’m sorry, unfortunately it’s a Catholic country’ and it’s the law that they can’t abort when the foetus is live.”

An autopsy revealed that she had died from septicaemia, according to the Irish Times.

The Irish Health Service Executive and the hospital have launched separate investigations.

In a statement, the local hospitals group expressed its sympathies, adding:

“Galway Roscommon University Hospitals Group wishes to emphasise that the facts of this tragic case have yet to be established; that is the purpose of the review.”

Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny has not ruled out an independent inquiry.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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