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Ireland dithers on abortion

Posted on Nov 16, 10:41AM | IBNS

Irish health minister James Reilly has said it was too early to commit to the introduction of legislation to clarify the legal stand concerning the banning of abortions, The Irish Times said.

The issue has assumed significance following the death of a 31-year-old Indian origin woman from blood poisoning here after doctors refused her an abortion.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland.

Reilly said it would not be proper for him to make such a commitment before he considered the report of his expert group on abortion.

The victim, Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, came on October 21 with back pain at Galway University Hospital where she was found to be miscarrying at 17 weeks.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, said she had asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told: "This is a Catholic country".

The dead foetus was later removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on October 28.

Savita's death has sparked an international outrage and the Irish government is currently under a lot of pressure to review the country's abortion laws.