Europe

Investigation after woman died 'hours after' abortion

A police investigation is under way after a woman from Dublin died hours after having an abortion in London.

The 32-year-old, who was a foreign national living in Ireland, underwent an abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in January 2012.

She died in a taxi hours after the procedure. Marie Stopes International declined to comment.

The Metropolitan Police said a file on the woman's death had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

A spokesman said the Met continues to investigate the sudden death.

A coroner's inquiry has been suspended pending a decision on prosecution by the CPS.

Miscarriage risk

The woman's husband told The Irish Times that his wife had sought an abortion at a maternity hospital in Dublin but had been told that it was not legally possible to provide one.

It is understood the woman's life was not considered to be at risk when she sought the procedure, although she had a condition that raised the risk of miscarriage.

The woman's husband, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was frustrated at the lack of progress in the investigation.

"I think if this was an Irish or a British woman, we would know what happened to her. But I am still waiting for answers," he said.

The woman had a child in Ireland in 2010. Her pregnancy was painful and complicated by extensive fibroids and treatment could have left her her infertile.

"We were worried about what would happen when she became pregnant again," he said.

"She was sick, but we were told that nothing could be done in Ireland."

It is understood the woman was about 20 weeks pregnant when she travelled to Britain for an abortion.

Blood loss

Her husband told the newspaper that she may have acted sooner but was examining options and raising money for the procedure.

It is understood the woman was suddenly taken ill in the Slough area of Berkshire at about midnight on the day of the procedure while in a taxi.

She was pronounced dead at Wexham Park Hospital after suffering a heart attack caused by extensive internal blood loss.

The couple were in Ireland on student visas at the time of her death.

An inquest was opened and adjourned in Berkshire and the case was subsequently transferred to the West London Coroner's Court.

Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald described the woman's death as a "traumatic and dreadful" tragedy.

"Clearly it's a tragic story and a tragic outcome for that young woman and we clearly must have all of the facts outlined in relation given the fact that the woman travelled from Ireland and died in a taxi in England," she said.

Ms Fitzgerald said Irish women who travelled to the UK for an abortion should be aware that aftercare was available to them on their return.

At present, at least 11 women leave the Irish Republic every day for an abortion in Britain.

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