Mother's Death Prompts Abortion Debate in Ireland

"Doctors at Galway University Hospital said that as long as the fetal heartbeat could be felt, the law prevented them from ending the pregnancy, Holland said. Halappanavar died of septicemia, or a blood infection, after three days in the hospital.

"Tuesday morning, came back and said, 'Sorry, can't help you. It's a Catholic country. Can't help you. It's a Catholic team.' So, Savita said that she was not a Catholic. She is Hindu, so why impose the law of the land on her?" her husband said.

The death led to protests, and top Irish lawmakers are asking whether the law needs to be changed.

In Ireland, abortion is legal if the mother's life is at risk, which is different from her health being at risk, Holland said.

The hospital expressed sympathy to Halappanavar's husband, but noted in a statement that "the facts of this tragic case have yet to be established."

Image: Empty hospital bed, via Shutterstock

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