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Senior consultant: No confusion over Ireland's abortion laws

A senior consultant said he believes there is no evidence of confusion within medical ranks in Ireland over whether or not a woman can have an abortion if her life is at risk.

No. Not in relation to where a mother's health is at risk.

I think most of us who work in obstetrics and gynaecology, there may be individual differences, but the majority would be of the view that if the health is such a risk that there is a risk of death and we are dealing with a foetus that is not viable, there is only one answer to that question, we bring the pregnancy to an end.

– Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin


Savita's husband describes her final days in hospital

The husband of Savita Halappanavar told Irish national broadcaster RTE his wife was experiencing a "normal pregnancy" and was "so excited about the birth" until the weekend of October 21, a week before she died on October 28.

The couple rushed to the hospital on Sunday morning as Savita was experiencing "acute pain".

After being examined and sent home the couple returned to hospital, Praveen Halappanavar left the room to allow his wife to be examined by a doctor.

In an interview with RTE Radio's News At One, he said:

I was called in, and I could see Savita in tears, in shock, and she told me it was a cervical dilation, and... they don't think the baby can survive, and there was no way to go about that.

And he said unfortunately, I am sorry, we can't save the baby.

The medical team told Praveen his wife was miscarrying and that it "would all be over in a few hours."

However, this did not happen, and Savita's condition deteriorated through the week.

On Tuesday night, things started getting worse, she was very very cold, and then on Friday morning, the nurse asked me if I had told her family back home, but Savita didn't to worry her parents, and the nurse said no, you have to tell them she is critically ill.

On Saturday night, I was told she was critical, the midwife, she told me to be brave and asked me did I want to be there with her dying, and then.... the doctor told me we lost her.

Irish health minister given report on abortion laws

Ireland's health minister James Reilly said Savita Halappanavar's death was a tragedy and that he would be seeking a report on the incident.

He also confirmed that another report by a 14-member expert group advising the government on abortion laws in the wake of a European Court of Human Rights ruling landed on his desk last night.

The ruling found the state violated the rights of a woman with cancer who was forced to travel abroad.

The report has been a bit delayed but it landed in my department last night.

I haven't had an opportunity to review it and I need to do that, and I need to do that carefully before I make the next move I make.

– James Reilly, Ireland's health minister

The minister added that the report was due to be completed by the end of October, but that extra time was sought and he had expected it on November 12.

Irish politicians question Kenny on abortion laws

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams asked Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he intended to legislate for abortion, while Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin called for an external inquiry to be carried out on Savita Halappanavar's death.

Both opposition TBs were joined by Independent Shane Ross in expressing sadness over the death of the 31-year-old.

Enda Kenny wants 'all the facts' before Savita action

Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave no indication whether he would introduce laws allowing women to have a termination in certain life-threatening circumstances after the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Credit: Julien Behal/PA Wire

He said: "It would be very appropriate that we don't rule anything out here, but there are two reports and investigations going on at the moment. I don't think we should say anything about this until we are in possession of all the facts".

He added: "A child has been lost, a mother has died and a husband is bereaved. That is a tragedy."


Twitter users 'appalled' by Savita's death

The history of abortion laws in Ireland

Abortion was illegal in all circumstances in Ireland until the 'X' case in 1992, where a 14-year-old girl who became pregnant from rape was prevented from leaving the country for an abortion.

Members of anti-abortion groups, Youth Defence and the Life Institute, protest in Dublin. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive

The Irish Supreme Court ruled there was a right to abortion if the mother's life was in danger - the girl involved was suicidal.

An estimated 150,000 women have travelled from Ireland to Britain since 1967 to get an abortion on health grounds, according to The New York Times.

Ireland has faced five referendums on abortion.

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