Savita abortion: India summons Irish envoy

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 15:56 hrs

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday summoned Irish Ambassador Feilim McLaughlin to convey India's concern over the case of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar, who died after being denied an abortion at a hospital in Ireland.

During the meeting, Madhusudan Ganapathi, Secretary (West) in the MEA, who summoned the Irish Ambassador, said India was concerned over Savita´s death and also informed McLaughlin about the uproar in the society that has started over the issue.

The Irish Ambassador reportedly assured full cooperation in connection to the matter.

Ganapathi expressed hope that inquiry into the matter would be independent and the Indian Ambassador in Dublin would be informed regarding its progress.

Reacting to the case, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told media: "I think saving the life of the mother is of prime importance, if you can´t save the life of the child."

The Indian ambassador in Dublin also met Irish authorities on the issue, reports said.

National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Mamta Sharma on Friday said: "Indian Government should take action and I will take it up with the External Affairs Ministry on Monday that the Irish government ease the strict abortion rules on humanitarian grounds."

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers demonstrated outside the Irish Embassy in Delhi.

Savita came on Oct 21 with back pain to Galway University Hospital where she was found to be miscarrying at 17 weeks.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, said she had asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told: "This is a Catholic country".

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 Oct 28.

Savita´s death sparked an international outrage.

"We deeply regret the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar. The death of an Indian national in such circumstances is a matter of concern," an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said.

"We understand that the Irish authorities have initiated two inquiries (and) we are awaiting the results of these inquiries and we will take it from there," he said.

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