The debate over legalising abortion in Ireland has re-kindled after Savita Halappanvar, an Indian woman who had a miscarriage, was declined abortion and she died in an Irish hospital after blood poisoning. Her case highlights the legal dilemma in which pregnant women with health problems find themselves in a Catholic Ireland.
The Irish constitution bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling legalized the procedure in cases when the woman's life was at risk in case of continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to resolve the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most threatening circumstances. The bulk of Irish women desiring abortions simply travel to England. But that option is difficult, if not impossible, for women in failing health.
Doctors at University Hospital Galway in western Ireland had determined that she was miscarrying within hours of hospitalization for severe pain but they refused abortion to combat her surging pain and fading health.