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NRI's death: Outrage for change in Ireland abortion laws

Last updated on: November 16, 2012 12:08 IST

Image: A woman walks past posters advertising a candlelit vigil at the University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

The tragic death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar in Ireland evoked global outrage. Irish authorities have announced that they would appoint an independent external expert to probe the matter, so that it could "stand up to world's scrutiny".

The health and safety executive, which runs all of the Irish public health services, said an independent external expert in obstetrics and gynaecology would be appointed to strengthen the incident management team it has asked to investigate the circumstances of Savita's death.

As the news of 31-year-old pregnant woman's tragic death led to angry protests in Dublin against Ireland's abortion laws.

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NRI's death: Outrage for change in Ireland abortion laws

Image: Mary Phelan holds a picture of Savita Halappanavar in protest outside University Hospital Galway in Galway, Ireland. Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after the news broke of death of Savita Halappanavar, 31, from septicaemia days after miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy and her husband said she had been denied an abortion.
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

"You're stuck between trying to get to the answers as quickly as you possibly can but not doing so in such a rushed fashion that you don't get the true answers. I want the findings of this to stand up to the scrutiny of the world," Health Minister James Reilly was quoted as saying by the Irish Times.

Savita, hailing from Karnataka, died from blood poisoning at University Hospital Galway on October 28 after doctors allegedly refused to perform an abortion stating "this is a Catholic country".

Abortion is illegal in Ireland except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the ealth, of the mother.


NRI's death: Outrage for change in Ireland abortion laws

Image: The family home of Praveen Halappanavar and his late wife Savita is seen in Galway, Ireland.
Photographs: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

About 2,000 people gathered outside the Irish parliament -- the Dail -- in Dublin on Thursday calling for the reform of the nation's controversial abortion laws. A minute's silence was also held in memory of Savita.

In London, a group of about 40 protesters also gathered outside the Irish embassy. In Cork, a candlelight vigil was held at the city's opera house in her memory, BBC reported.

Savita's death is the subject of two investigations.

Besides the Health Service Executive probe, the hospital had also launched an internal investigation.

Ireland Prime Minister Enda Kenny, meanwhile, did not rule out an independent inquiry. He said it was appropriate for the health minister to first receive the reports of the hospital and the HSE.

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