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Catholic World News

Study finds substandard care for woman whose death prompted change in Ireland's abortion law

October 09, 2013

A new inquiry into the tragedy that sparked calls to legalize abortion in Ireland has found that doctors failed to provide routine care for a woman who died of complications from pregnancy.

The death of Savita Halappanavar provoked calls for an end to Ireland's abortion ban, based on the widespread understanding that the young woman died because doctors refused to perform an abortion. But actually there is no evidence that she sought an abortion, and doctors were authorized to take emergency action-- including, if necessary, the termination of her pregnancy-- to save her life.

An earlier investigation found that the Halappanavar died because doctors did not respond properly to clear evidence that her condition was deteriorating. Now a 2nd study has found that doctors overlooked multiple indications of the sepsis that eventually caused her death, and failed to meet even basic standards of care.


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