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Khurshid asks diplomats to keep tabs on Savita case

New Delhi, Nov 18, 2012, DHNS 23:11 IST

Abortion row: Hope that steps will be taken so that such incidents do not recur

Abortion rights protesters bearing pictures of Savita Halappanavar march through central Dublin, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, demanding that Ireland's government ensures that abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. AP
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has asked the Indian Embassy in Dublin to keep a close tab on the probe being conducted into the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland and to keep her husband Praveen abreast of the developments.

A senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA called up Praveen and briefed him about the discussions India’s Ambassador to Ireland Debashish Chakravarti had with the Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore in Dublin on Saturday.

The MEA official also told Praveen that the External Affairs Minister was “closely following developments in the case” and had directed the Indian Mission in Dublin to continue updating him and provide all necessary assistance.

Chakravarti called on Gilmore late on Friday and expressed the deep concern of the Government of India at the tragic death of Savita. Official sources in New Delhi said he also conveyed to the minister India’s “hope that steps would be taken so that such incidents do not recur”. Gilmore told Chakravarti the enquiry being conducted by the Health Services Executive would be assisted by an independent medical professional.

Official sources in New Delhi quoted Gilmore saying the investigation would be completed at an early date and the Irish Government would work closely with the Indian Mission and cooperate on all aspects. Savita died of septicemia on October 28 after Irish doctors allegedly turned down the couple’s repeated requests to terminate her 17-week-long pregnancy that had run into complications.

The doctors at the University Hospital in Galway purportedly told them that Ireland’s strict laws did not permit termination of pregnancy as long as the heart of the foetus beats.
The doctors removed the remains of the foetus, only after its heart stopped beating, but it was too late to save Savita. The couple from Karnataka had been working in Ireland. Praveen worked as an engineer in Boston Scientific and Savita as a dentist.

Savita’s death triggered fresh protest against the ban on abortion in Ireland, with protesters asking the government to enact laws to clearly spell out situations when the doctors could go for the procedure to end pregnancies and save women’s lives.

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