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GALWAY, Ireland, May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Many Irish citizens may have changed their pro-life stance after being misled to believe a pregnant Indian woman died in an Irish hospital because she was not allowed an abortion.

Critics say Savita Halappanavar’s 2012 death has been exploited by abortion activists to influence this week's referendum that could impose abortion-on-demand on a historically pro-life country. Critics say Ireland’s abortion laws had nothing to do with Savita’s death.

Three official investigations found that Savita, 31, died of sepsis – a blood infection – caused by “extremely virulent bacteria,” E. coli ESBL. Under Ireland’s abortion laws, the woman would have been permitted an abortion had doctors realized how sick she was when she came to the hospital.

“First and foremost, this was a subsequent medical negligence case,” Ireland’s Lawyers for Life stated in a Facebook post last week. “This was well reported in the media at the time of the medical negligence court case.”

On May 25, Irish citizens will vote in a referendum to repeal or save Ireland’s pro-life Eighth Amendment. At present Irish mothers and babies have an equal right to life. Abortion is permissible if the presence of the unborn child in her womb directly endangers the life of the mother.

Lawyers for Life underscored that Savita's death had nothing to do with abortion, but instead was a case of medical negligence.

“This had NOTHING whatever to do with abortion and was down to very poor health care which resulted in the subsequent medical negligence court case,” said the organization.

Lawyers for Life said it was “unhelpful and misleading” for people to continue to refer to Savita’s death as if it were the result of Ireland’s constitutional protection of the unborn child, when in fact medical negligence was to blame.

Ireland’s Life Institute has published a detailed account of Savita Halappanavar’s treatment in Galway University Hospital. The report can be read here in full. 

“The inquiries found that Savita’s case had been medically mismanaged in the hospital, with the HIQA [Health Information and Quality Authority] inquiry pointing to 13 missed opportunities to save her life,” states the account.

By the time the medical team realized Savita's condition and started her on the appropriate treatment, it was already too late to save her as the infection had already spread and her organs were affected.

“A consultant at the inquest, Dr. Peter Kelahan, said that her level of infection was incredibly high and exceedingly rare and that Savita had the worst case of sepsis he had seen in 30 years,” states the account.

“Her condition continued to deteriorate throughout Saturday and on the morning of Sunday, 28th October 2012, Savita Halappanavar passed away. Her cause of death was documented as multi-organ failure from E.coli ESBL septicaemia.”

Recent polls suggest that the Friday's referendum hangs in a balance and could swing either way.