1 November 2014

Indian government expresses concern at Savita Halappanavar's death

12:01, Post Reporter

The Indian government has expressed concern about the death of one of its citizens in Ireland at Galway University Hospital.

Savita Halappanavar died after doctors had refused her request for a termination while she suffered severe pain and was told she was miscarrying, her husband told the Irish Times yesterday. She later died from septicemia, the newspaper reported,.

"We deeply regret the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar. The death of an India national in such circumstances is a matter of concern. Our Embassy in Dublin is following the matter closely," Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told Indian media earlier.

He said that the ministry has already expressed its sympathies to the family members of the deceased 31-year-old woman dentist who was 17-weeks pregnant at the time of her death.

The spokesperson said that India will take up the issue with Ireland once the results of two investigations into the matter are revealed. "We understand that the Irish authorities have initiated two enquiries. We are awaiting the results of the enquiries," he said.

It was widely reported in the Indian media that Halappanavar was reportedly denied an abortion on October 21st at Galway University Hospital as "this is a Catholic country".

**"The abortion debate has been reignited and the government is now under pressure to respond." [Fiona Ness analyses](http://www.businesspost.ie/#!story/Comment/Opinion/COMMENT%3A+Abortion+debate+reignited+by+Galway+case/id/93941191-6950-a3b7-2260-595003920139) the legal morass.**

Earlier, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said it is “time to bring legal clarity” to the issue of abortion, following the death of a pregnant woman refused a termination.

“It is time to bring legal clarity on this whole issue,” Gilmore told the Dáil that the government would not “neglect and ignore” the issue.

While women in Ireland have a constitutional right to an abortion where there is a substantial risk to their lives, successive governments have avoided introducing laws putting it into practice and giving medical staff a framework to decide when terminations are appropriate.

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In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights decided that while it accepted Ireland had the power to decide on the availability of abortion, if there was a right to access to a termination then a system must be in place to implement it.

The government will study a report into the court’s judgement before reporting to the Council of Europe by the end of the month, Gilmore said.

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