Savita Halappanavar protest march calls for review of Ireland's abotion laws


Demonstrators hold placards and candles in memory of Savita Halappanavar during a march to Irish Parliament in Dublin on November 17, 2012. Ireland's tough abortion laws came under fire following the death of the Indian woman after doctors allegedly refused her a termination because it was against the laws of the Catholic country and they could hear a fetal heartbeat.



Savita Halappanavar’s death sparked candlelight vigils across Ireland and England today as thousands gathered to pay tribute and call for change.

The 31-year-old Indian dentist died from blood poisoning last month after doctors refused to give her an abortion.

Dublin, Cork, Galway and London hosted rallies that pressured government leaders to rethink abortion laws, the Irish Times reported.

“The anger extends beyond Ireland,” Sinead Kennedy of Irish Choice Network said, according to the Times.

“For more than 20 years we have seen political cowardice and inaction on this issue. The theme of this march is ‘never again.’ Never again will a woman be allowed to die.”

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Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she died on October 28, BBC reported.

She arrived at University Hospital Galway with back pain. Doctors told her she was having a miscarriage, so she asked for termination.

Her widower, Praveen, said hospital staff refused the procedure because they could hear a fetal heartbeat and that Ireland is a “Catholic country,” according to BBC.

The hospital said its working with police to establish facts in the case.

Halappanavar’s death led to protests earlier this week and the government pledging action, although Ireland’s prime minister said he wouldn't make rash decisions.

“This is a matter that has divided Irish society now for a great number of years, and I am not going to be rushed into a situation by force of numbers on any side,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said, according to AFP.

More from GlobalPost: Woman dies after she was ‘refused’ abortion during miscarriage