Thousands of people rallied outside Ireland's parliament on Wednesday to demand strict abortion rules be eased after a pregnant Indian woman repeatedly denied a termination died in an Irish hospital.
Savita Halappanavar, 31, admitted to University Hospital Galway in the west of Ireland last month, died of septicaemia a week after miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy.
Her repeated requests for termination were rejected because of the presence of a foetal heartbeat, her husband told state broadcaster RTE.
Abortion remains an extremely divisive issue in Ireland, an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country which has some of the world's most restrictive laws on medical terminations.
The organisers of the Dublin protest said they expected a much larger crowd at a weekend demonstration and called on people to protest at Irish embassies around the world.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny, whose party has been criticised for delays in introducing legislation to define in what circumstances abortion should be allowed, offered condolences to the woman's family, but said he could not comment further until an investigation into the death.
Death sparks criticism of Irish abortion laws
"X-CASE" BROUGHT COURT RULING
In 1992, when challenged in the "X-case" involving a 14-year-old rape victim, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was permitted when the woman's life was at risk, including from suicide.
But an earlier constitutional amendment banning abortion remains in place, leaving medical professionals to navigate a legal minefield when treating pregnant women.
"What happened to this woman was nothing short of medieval," independent socialist member of parliament Clare Daly told the crowd. "We can't let political cowardice kill another woman."
The government says it has been waiting for the recommendations of an expert panel before fulfilling the European Court of Human Rights demand for clarification. The panel's report was delivered to the government on Tuesday.
In the absence of legislation, Irish women are forced to go abroad to terminate their pregnancies, an option not open to seriously ill mothers.
"It's very frightening. It makes me feel it's not a safe country in which to have a baby," said Sinead O'Brien a 41-year-old holding a placard saying 'Never Again'.
"There has been a groundswell of feeling all day. I think something has to change."