Irish government hears abortion submissions

Savita Halappanavar
Image caption Savita Halappanavar's death sparked international protests

A committee of Ireland's parliament is to begin hearing submissions on abortion over the next three days.

The Fine Gael-Labour coalition said it would bring in legislation and regulation on the issue by the summer.

It is expected to allow a pregnancy to be terminated where there is a risk to the life of a mother as distinct from a risk to her health.

The credible threat of suicide by a pregnant woman would also be considered grounds for an abortion.

The move is opposed by the Catholic Church.

The abortion debate in the Republic of Ireland received a higher profile following the death of Savita Halappanavar in a hospital in Galway in November.

The 31-year-old, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died at University Hospital Galway following a miscarriage.

Her family said she had asked several times for an abortion before she died.

The death of the Indian-born dentist sparked international protests and reignited the debate on the Irish Republic's abortion laws.

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