Irish PM says won't be rushed on abortion issue

Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:11pm EST
 

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's prime minister said on Friday he would not be rushed into making a decision on the issue of abortion, after an Indian woman who was refused a termination died from blood poisoning in an Irish hospital.

"This is a matter that has divided Irish society now for a great number of years, and I am not going to be rushed into a situation by force of numbers on any side," Prime Minister Enda Kenny told state broadcaster RTE.

The Irish government pledged on Thursday to clarify its abortion laws.

A wave of protests have taken place across Ireland in recent days in response to the death of 31-year old Savita Halappanavar who died of septicaemia following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

Activists in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country, which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say the refusal by doctors to terminate the pregnancy earlier may have contributed to her death.

"This is something that has to be dealt with rationally, and openly and truthfully and that is what will happen," said Kenny.

A delayed expert report on abortion was submitted to the Health Ministry this week and will be published after being discussed by government, Kenny added.

Halappanavar was admitted to hospital in severe pain on October 21 and asked for a termination after doctors told her the baby would not survive, according to her husband Praveen.

The fetus was surgically removed when its heartbeat stopped days later, but her family believes the delay contributed to the blood poisoning that killed Halappanavar on October 28.

(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

 
A woman holds a candlelit vigil outside University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland November 15, 2012. Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton