Husband refuses to cooperate in Ireland abortion case inquiry

Records missing in abortion denial case
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Story highlights

  • Husband of woman who died after being refused abortion will not cooperate with inquiry
  • Praveen Halappanavar thinks Irish officials failed to adequately investigate, his lawyer says
  • Savita Halappanavar died October 28 of blood poisoning

The husband of a woman who died after reportedly being refused an abortion in Ireland said Friday he will not cooperate with an inquiry into her death.

Ireland's health service monitoring group -- the Health Information and Quality Authority -- Friday published the "terms of reference" for its investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway in October. The inquiry will investigate the safety, quality and standards of services provided.

However, the lawyer acting for Praveen Halappanavar, Gerard O'Donnell, confirmed that his client would not support the investigation and would only accept a public inquiry. O'Donnell plans to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Two state investigations have been called, but Halappanavar had said he has no faith in them, claiming some of his wife's medical records have disappeared.

The Irish Health Minister James Reilly said Friday he had not ruled out a public inquiry but was waiting on the interim results of an internal "clinical review" by the Health Service Executive before deciding his next move.

The Halappanavar family says Savita died of blood poisoning after doctors declined to abort her miscarrying fetus because of Ireland's strict laws. Her husband claims she was advised her unborn baby would likely die.

Halappanavar says his wife, who was in extreme pain, asked for the abortion, but was told that Ireland is a Catholic country and an abortion could not be done while the fetus was alive. Three days after the request for a termination was made, the fetus died and was removed. Four days later, Savita died of a blood infection.

Her death provoked anger in Ireland and elsewhere and sparked demands for Ireland to introduce new abortion laws.

The issue has been debated in Ireland's parliament, but it's unclear when, or if, a resolution will come. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Wednesday he wants a legislative decision on abortion "as quickly as possible."

Read more: Husband wants answers over wife whose death sparked abortion debate

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