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Savita Halappanavar death: Family to approach European Court of Human Rights

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Nov 30, 2012 at 08:48am IST

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London: The husband of Savita Halappanavar will proceed with an application to the European Court of Human Rights after Irish Health Minister did not agree for a public inquiry into the circumstances leading to her death.

Praveen Halappanavar has said the two inquiries established into his wife's death did not satisfy him or her family. The first was set up by the HSE (Health and Security Executive), while a second, by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), while separate to the former, was instigated at the HSE's request. Both will be held in private.

31-year-old Savita, who was 17 weeks pregnant, was found to be miscarrying and wanted an abortion. But the doctors declined saying theirs is a Catholic country and they cannot abort a foetus. The dead foetus was later removed and Savita was taken to the high dependency unit and then the intensive care unit, where she died of septicaemia on October 28. An autopsy carried out two days later found she died of septicaemia "documented ante-mortem" and E coli ESBL.

The case highlighted Ireland's failure to ensure implementation of the 1992 Supreme Court judgment allowing abortion in cases where pregnancy places lives at risk. The court had found this should be the only exception to Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion.

Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights had also ruled that Ireland was placing pregnant women in jeopardy by not providing a clear law defining when life-saving abortions can be performed.

The government, however, insists on not presenting any abortion legislation until probe into Savita's death is completed in February. It also vowed to block an opposition bill unveiled yesterday seeking Parliament's immediate approval of the 1992 Supreme Court judgment.

With Additional Inputs From PTI

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