Published Sunday, 18 November 2012
Savita Halappanavar, who died in hospital last month. (© The Irish Times)
The politicians have all signed a letter addressed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny requesting "urgent action" following the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant woman who died in hospital after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia.
Her husband Praveen is claiming she died after reportedly being refused a medical termination at Galway University Hospital.
He insists her requests were denied because there was a foetal heartbeat present. She died on Sunday, 28 October.
Irish MEP Paul Murphy has put forward the letter, which describes the politicians' shock at learning of the death.
"We express our deep sympathy to her family and friends.
"This tragedy highlights the need for immediate action to introduce legislation for abortion in Ireland."
It continued: In order to give support and legal clarity for health care professionals we call on the Irish authority responsible for the health service, the Health Service Executive (HSE), to immediately issue a directive allowing for immediate terminations of unviable foetuses to save women from severe pain and protect their health and life."
The letter went on to state: "Ms. Halappanavar is now the victim of this inaction."
"We feel that the Irish government should immediately bring forth legislation to permit abortion in cases where the mother's life or health is endangered as a first step towards the establishment of women's right to choose in Ireland."
The letter is also signed by Mikael Gustafsson MEP, Chair of the women's Rights and Equality committee. A total of 53 politicians from 15 countries across Europe have signed the document.
The development emerged as plans were outlined for an International Day of Protest on Wednesday with demonstrations at Irish embassies around the world.
Thousands took part in candlelight vigils across Ireland on Saturday in memory of Mrs Halappanavar. There were also services in Europe and America.
Meanwhile, a leading Irish obstetrician has called for clear guidance on pregnancy intervention.
Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe, a consultant obstetrician at Dublin's National Maternity hospital, said:"Where we are at the moment is that if there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, intervention in pregnancy is permissible.
"Now however there is no legislation to guide us as to what constitutes a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother."
Appearing on Thursday's UTV Live Tonight programme, Prof McAuliffe stated that guidance would be welcomed over instances when the risk to a pregnant woman's life "is less immediate and less dramatic."
"This is a grey area for us," she added.
© UTV News