Pro-choice campaigners to demonstrate on Saturday

Up to 2,000 people protested outside the Dáil last night.

Pro-choice campaigners are organising another demonstration on Saturday calling for abortion legislation in the wake of the death of Savita Halappanavar.

Up to 2,000 people protested outside the Dáil last night, with speeches from pro-life campaigners and a minute’s silence in honour of Mrs Halappanavar.

Hospital and health chiefs have begun preparing reports following the death of Savita who was refused an abortion.

An expert team within the Health Service Executive (HSE) and officials from Galway University Hospital have launched investigations into the circumstances that led to Savita Halappanavar’s death.

The 31-year-old’s husband Praveen will be questioned as part of the investigations, which officials said are aimed at preventing a similar tragedy occurring again.

Mrs Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she died on October 28 after suffering a miscarriage and septicaemia.

Her husband alleged his wife, who is a dentist, pleaded with doctors to perform a medical termination.

Doctors are said to have denied her requests because the foetus’s heartbeat was present – reportedly telling her: “This is a Catholic country.”

Mrs Halappanavar’s death has sparked urgent calls for the Government to reform complex abortion laws.

The tragedy comes 20 years after a separate controversial abortion case split the country and two years since European judges called for clear direction on when a termination is legal.

The Galway-Roscommon University Hospitals Group and the HSE’s national accident management team announced two separate investigations into Mrs Halappanavar’s death, which sent waves through the Irish parliament when it emerged yesterday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Health Minister James Reilly both expressed their deep sympathy for Mr Halappanavar.

The HSE also confirmed last night that it will appoint an independent, external expert in obstetrics and gynaecology to its investigating team.

Chiefs at the hospital expect to finish its review within the next three months.

Meanwhile, a separate report from a 14-member expert group advising the Government on abortion – in the wake of the European Court of Human Rights ruling – landed on the health minister’s desk on Tuesday night.

The Taoiseach said the Cabinet will examine the expert group’s findings before a response is given to the court judgment on or before November 30.

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