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Ireland to clarify abortion laws after woman denied procedure dies

Hanna Graham joins a protest candle lit vigil outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 for Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year old Indian woman who was 17-weeks pregnant when she died of blood poisoning after suffering a miscarriage in Galway, Ireland, on 28 October. Savita Halappanavar's father, Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter's death. The parents of an Indian woman who suffered a miscarriage and died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital slammed Ireland's abortion laws Thursday.

Peter Morrison/AP

Ireland's prime minister said on Friday he would not be rushed into making a decision on

the issue of abortion, after

an Indian woman who was refused a termination died from blood poisoning in an Irish hospital.

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"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 told state broadcaster RTE.

The Irish government pledged on Thursday to clarify its abortion laws.

A wave of protests have taken place across Ireland in recent days in response to the death of 31-year old Savita Halappanavar who died of septicemia following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

Activists in the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country, which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on abortion, say the refusal by doctors to terminate the pregnancy earlier may have contributed to her death.

"This is something that has to be dealt with rationally, and openly and truthfully and that is what will happen," said Mr. Kenny.

A delayed expert report on abortion was submitted to the Health Ministry this week and will be published after being discussed by government, he added.

Ms. Halappanavar was admitted to hospital in severe pain on Oct. 21 and asked for a termination after doctors told her the baby would not survive, said her husband, Praveen.

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The fetus was surgically removed when its heartbeat stopped days later, but her family believes the delay contributed to the blood poisoning that killed Ms. Halappanavar on Oct. 28.

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