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Ireland vows to clarify abortion law after woman's death


Ireland vows to clarify abortion law after woman's death

The Irish government says the country’s stance on abortion needs clarifying after the death of a pregnant woman in hospital.

Savita Halappanavar was allegedly refused a termination while she was enduring a miscarriage in Galway.

Two investigations are underway after her husband claimed the reasons doctors gave were that a foetal heartbeat had been detected, and Ireland was a “Catholic country”.

“I have said very clearly that we need to bring legal clarity to this issue. We need to ensure that in this country that we do not have a doubt which arises in a hospital in a set of circumstances which puts a mother’s life at risk,” Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told parliament.

The 31 year-old woman’s death prompted thousands to protest in Dublin on Wednesday.

The Irish Supreme Court ruled 20 years ago that abortion was legal in limited circumstances. But a European ruling two years ago said Ireland still needed to introduce clear rules.

Critics say doctors are left in legal limbo.