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bpas response to Irish abortion case

An investigation is to be carried out following the death of a woman in an Irish hospital after she was denied an abortion. Doctors apparently refused to perform a termination on the woman, who was suffering a miscarriage, because a foetal heartbeat was still present. She subsequently developed septicaemia and died.

Patricia Lohr, Medical Director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said:

"Doctors in Ireland need clarity on when they can provide abortions and they need it now. They are in fact legally allowed to perform an abortion when a woman's life is at risk, but this case appears to highlight just how problematic this threat to life "exception" can be in the most devastating way imaginable. It is appalling that doctors might feel they have to wait until death is imminent before being able to intervene when treatment could have been offered much earlier. We urge the government to act swiftly and decisively so that no woman suffers in this way again."