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Continued: Irish premier says anti-abortion activists branding him a murderer, sending letters in blood

  • Article by: SHAWN POGATCHNIK , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 12, 2013 - 4:35 PM

But the poll of 1,000 people earlier this week across this country of 4.6 million found only 52 percent support for granting abortions to women who threaten suicide, a key part of the bill, while 29 percent were opposed. And 39 percent thought abortion should be provided on demand, while 46 percent rejected this. The survey had an error margin of 3 percentage points.

The view that some Irish hospitals delay granting abortions to seriously ill women on religious grounds was highlighted by the October death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist who was 17 weeks pregnant with her first child when her uterus ruptured, dooming the fetus.

A coroner's inquest has already determined that she died six days after requesting an abortion, during which time she contracted septicemia that ultimately ruined her organs, sent her into a coma, and ended in a lethal heart attack. Witnesses confirmed that her requests to end her miscarriage were rejected because the dying fetus still had a heartbeat. It died four days before her own death.

Her case became public only because her widower publicly denounced her care and said a nurse had told him his wife's miscarriage could not be accelerated because Ireland is a Catholic country.

A government-commissioned experts' report on the Halappanavar death is being published Thursday.

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