Thousands of people rallied outside Ireland's parliament on Wednesday to demand strict abortion rules be eased after a pregnant Indian woman repeatedly denied a termination died in an Irish hospital, reports Reuters on Yahoo7.
Savita Halappanavar, 31, admitted to University Hospital Galway in the west of Ireland last month, died of septicaemia a week after miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
Her repeated requests for termination were rejected because of the presence of a fetal heartbeat, her husband told state broadcaster RTE.
At least 2,000 people gathered for a candle-lit vigil to demand that the government legislate to close a legal loophole that leaves it unclear when the threat to the life of a pregnant woman provides legal justification for an abortion.
Vatican Insider reports that Martin Long, one of the spokesmen of the Irish Bishops Conference, told the Italian Religious Information Service that Savita’s death was a “heartbreaking” tragedy for the Church.
“It is a harrowing story and I express my deepest sympathy with Savita’s husband for the loss of his wife and their child,” Long did not wish to make any further comment until investigations were concluded.
The Bishop of Killala, John Flemming, also issued a statement published in The Irish Times, recalling that the Irish Constitution recognises “the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect” that right. The clear intention, therefore, is “to protect and cherish equally the lives of both the mother and her unborn child.”
The news of Halappanavar's death overnight sparked a wave of anger on Irish social media, with more than 50,000 people sharing the Irish Times's lead story on the issue on Wednesday.
Thousands rally in Ireland after woman denied abortion dies (Yahoo7)
Irish bishops: Savita's death is heartbreaking (Vatican Insider)
Death sparks Ireland abortion debate (BigPond News)