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Ireland: We will clarify abortion law to avoid tragedy repeat (+video)

The Irish government's pledge to clarify when abortions are allowed comes amid a furor over the death of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied a termination following her miscarriage.

Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws are under fire after an Indian woman living there died after being refused an abortion last month.
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Ireland's government on Thursday pledged to clarify its abortion laws after a woman, who was denied a termination, died from septicaemia in an Irish hospital.

Thousands held a candle-lit vigil outside parliament on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian Hindu, following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

Activists in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say a lack of legal clarity about when termination's are justified may have contributed to her death.

"I was deeply disturbed yesterday by what Savita's husband said. I don't think as a country we should allow a situation where women's rights are put at risk in this way," Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore told parliament on Thursday.

"There is no question of equivocation. We need to bring legal clarity to this issue and that is what we are going to do," he said.

Irish law does not specify under what circumstances the threat to the life or health of the mother is high enough to justify a termination, leaving doctors to decide.

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