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'Pregnant suicidal Irish women denied abortion right'

London: In new guidelines by the Irish government, pregnant women could be denied having an abortion even at suicide risk after conceiving as a result of rape or incest.

The new guidelines were drawn up after the Irish government introduced legislation last year to allow for abortion in extremely limited circumstances, Guardian reported.

The law followed the death of Indian-origin woman Savita Halappanavar who was denied an emergency termination that could have saved her life.

Some experts have questioned the new guidelines, saying this would leave women "at the mercy of a local, moral and political lottery".

"A woman could potentially have to see up to seven medical experts before getting a decision on her right to an abortion," Veronica O'Keane, professor of psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, was quoted as saying.

Pro-choice campaigners are concerned that conservative attitudes among health professionals will put more women's lives at risk, the Guardian report said.

The 108-page guidance document does not include provisions for an independent committee to make decisions on treating those with "suicidal intent" which was a key demand among campaigners for reform.

The guidelines have yet to be ratified by the new Irish health minister Leo Varadkar, a spokesperson for the Department of Health in Dublin said.

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