DUBLIN: A 31-year-old woman, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died after she was denied permission to undergo an abortion at University hospital in Galway as it is illegal in the Republic of Ireland.
Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, suffered a miscarriage and septicaemia.
The Guardian reports say that her request for a termination was denied because a foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told at one point: "This is a Catholic country."
Her husband Praveen claimed that doctors refused to carry out a termination for religious reasons.
"Again on Tuesday morning ... the consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country. Savita said: "I am neither Irish nor Catholic," but they said there was nothing they could do," Praveen Halappanavar
Sky News reported that the 31-year-old dentist was suffering from agonising pain and, according to her husband, made several requests for an abortion.
Medical staff later removed the foetus after the heartbeat stopped but Savita died of septicaemia on 28 October, reports The Guardian.
Her death is expected to spark a backlash against the Irish government, criticised by left-wing members of parliament for failing to introduce new laws to permit abortion in life-threatening circumstances.
Associated Press quoted Prime Minister Enda Kenny saying that he was awaiting findings from three investigations into the death of Savita Halappanavar.
The death of Savita highlights the trouble that pregnant women with severe health issues face in predominantly Catholic Ireland.
A Associated Press report says: Ireland's constitution officially bans abortion, but a 1992 Supreme Court ruling found it should be legalized for situations when the woman's life is at risk from continuing the pregnancy. Five governments since have refused to pass a law resolving the confusion, leaving Irish hospitals reluctant to terminate pregnancies except in the most obviously life-threatening circumstances.