Irish doctors seek new abortion law after a death

Associated Press
Protestors outside Leinster House in Dublin  Wednesday Nov.  14, 2012 against the death in October of Savita Halappanavar, pictured, a dentist aged 31, who was 17 weeks pregnant, after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia. The woman's husband Praveen Halappanavar claims she had complained of being in agonising pain while in Galway University Hospital. He has said that doctors refused to carry out a medical termination because the foetus's heartbeat was present. Ireland's constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found the procedure should be legalized for situations when the woman's life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. (AP Photo/ Julien Behal, PA)
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DUBLIN (AP) — Pressure is mounting in Ireland for the government to draft a law spelling out when life-saving abortions can be performed following the death in the hospital of a pregnant woman who was denied an abortion.

Thousands have rallied in London, Dublin, Cork and Galway in memory of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist who died a week after doctors said she was starting to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus.

Despite her pain, doctors refused her request for an abortion for three days because the fetus had a heartbeat. She died from blood poisoning three days after the fetus died.

Irish gynecologists said Thursday they want the government to close a 20-year-old hole in abortion law that leaves them fearing prosecution if they abort a living fetus to protect a woman's life.

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