Ireland vows to clarify abortion law after woman's death

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Ireland vows to clarify abortion law after woman's death

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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.