Professor says Savita would be alive today if not for 8th; LoveBoth says proposals are 'too extreme'

The author of the investigation into Savita Halappanavar’s death has reiterated his finding that she would still be alive if the Eighth Amendment did not exist.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, who chaired the Government-backed inquiry into Ms Halappanavar’s 2012 death, made the comments with just four days left of the referendum campaign.

Savita Halappanavar

Speaking before tonight’s live TV debate, which will feature Health Minister Simon Harris and LoveBoth’s Cora Sherlock, Prof Arulkumaran said Ms Halappanavar died because of the Eighth Amendment.

“When there were signs of sepsis with Savita at 18 weeks, in the UK we would have terminated,” he said.

"But the problem was they were listening to the foetal heart beat and what was holding them back was the Eighth Amendment."

Prof Arulkumaran has flown from India to Dublin to attend an Irish Family Planning Association referendum yes vote event today.

“The world is going to say we [Ireland] are not compassionate and do not respect women [if there is a no vote],” he added.

The comments are likely to play a crucial role in tonight’s referendum debate, which will see Mr Harris and Ms Sherlock go head to head after weeks of acrimony.

Ahead of the debate, Ms Sherlock said that many voters want to help rape victims affected by the Eighth Amendment, but the government proposals are 'too extreme'.

Cora Sherlock

Ms Sherlock says she has encountered voters who would support repeal of the Eighth if the proposed legislation was more restrictive.

The government is proposing to legislate for abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Ms Sherlock says that is something that worries voters she has met on the doorsteps.

"I know that they would say, because they have said to me on the doors, 'I don't agree with the wider Pro-Life movement on a whole lot of issues but the one thing I do agree with them on is the proposal is too extreme'."

- Irish Examiner & Digital Desk

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