Calls for a public inquiry into the death of a woman in Ireland after being refused an abortion are being taken to the European Court of Human Rights.

The husband of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar has instructed lawyers to bring a case to Strasbourg over the death of his wife in Galway University Hospital in October.

savita

Savita Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she died at Galway University Hospital

Praveen Halappanavar's solicitor Gerard O'Donnell said the case would be taken under article two of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Under article two a person is entitled to an inquiry that is independent, effective, prompt and open to public scrutiny. They are usually carried out when there is a State connection to a death, as in a hospital or in custody.

Mr O'Donnell said: "The difficulty is that we are seeking a public inquiry and the European court will of course wonder have we exhausted remedies here in Ireland first," he said.

Praveen Halappanavar has reiterated his refusal to co-operate with an internal clinical inquiry set up by the Health Service Executive (HSE) into his wife's death. He will also not work with an independent watchdog inquiry by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

It is understood that if the court agrees to hear arguments, it would be the first case of its kind against the Irish government.

Ms Halappanavar, 31, died on October 28, 17 weeks into her pregnancy.

She miscarried and subsequently suffered septicaemia, and her husband claims that doctors refused to carry out an abortion because a foetal heartbeat was present. He says they were told Ireland "is a Catholic country".

An inquest will be held in Galway.

The controversy has reignited divisive debates on abortion in Ireland with the government committed to reforming a limited ban in certain circumstances where there is a risk to the mother's life.

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  • Ireland abortion row

    A protester during a march in O'Connell Street, Dublin, to demand legislation on abortion after the death of Indian woman Savita Halappanavar. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 17, 2012. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

  • Ireland abortion row

    Candles are left in tribute outside Leinster House in Dublin, after thousands of people marched demanding legislation on abortion after the death of Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.

  • Ireland abortion row

    Candles are left in tribute outside Leinster House in Dublin, after thousands of people marched demanding legislation on abortion after the death of Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.

  • Abortion rights protesters hold candles and pictures in a vigil for Savita Halappanavar outside Ireland's government headquarters in Dublin Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Thousands marched to the spot to demand that the government draft a law defining when abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

  • Abortion rights protesters bearing pictures of Savita Halappanavar march through central Dublin, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, demanding that Ireland's government ensures that abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

  • Several thousand abortion rights protesters march through central Dublin, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, demanding that Ireland's government ensures that abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

  • Abortion rights activists hold candles and display pictures in memory of Savita Halappanavar during a protest rally outside Ireland's government headquarters in Dublin Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Thousands marched to the spot to demand that the government draft a law defining when abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

  • An Indian man and Irish woman light candles as abortion rights protesters march through central Dublin Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, demanding that Ireland's government create a law defining when abortions can be performed to save a woman's life. Ireland has been shocked by the death of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital last month. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

  • Ireland abortion row

    People march down O'Connell Street, Dublin, to demand legislation on abortion after the death of Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.

  • IRELAND-INDIA-ABORTION-RIGHTS-RELIGION

    Demonstrators hold placards and candels in memory of Indian Savita Halappanavar in support of legislative change on abortion during a march from the Garden of Remembrance to the Dail (Irish Parliament) in Dublin, Ireland on November 17, 2012. Ireland's tough abortion laws came under fire following the death of the Indian woman Halappanavar after doctors allegedly refused her a termination because it was against the laws of the Catholic country. The Indian woman, who was 17 weeks pregnant, repeatedly asked the hospital to terminate her pregnancy because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying, her family said. AFP PHOTO / PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • IRELAND-INDIA-ABORTION-RIGHTS-RELIGION

    Demonstrators hold placards and candels in memory of Indian Savita Halappanavar in support of legislative change on abortion during a march from the Garden of Remembrance to the Dail (Irish Parliament) in Dublin, Ireland on November 17, 2012. Ireland's tough abortion laws came under fire following the death of the Indian woman Halappanavar after doctors allegedly refused her a termination because it was against the laws of the Catholic country. The Indian woman, who was 17 weeks pregnant, repeatedly asked the hospital to terminate her pregnancy because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying, her family said. AFP PHOTO / PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A woman place's candles outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, for Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year old Indian woman who was 17-weeks pregnant when she died of blood poisoning after suffering a miscarriage in Galway, Ireland, on 28 October. Savita Halappanavar's father, Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter's death. The parents of an Indian woman who suffered a miscarriage and died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital slammed Ireland's abortion laws Thursday. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

  • A woman place's candles outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, for Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year old Indian woman who was 17-weeks pregnant when she died of blood poisoning after suffering a miscarriage in Galway, Ireland, on 28 October. Savita Halappanavar's father, Andanappa Yalagi, said the combination of medical negligence and Irish abortion laws led to his daughter's death. The parents of an Indian woman who suffered a miscarriage and died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital slammed Ireland's abortion laws Thursday. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

  • INDIA-IRELAND-ABORTION-RIGHTS

    Demonstrators from India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shout slogans against the Irish government for the death of Indian national Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland after doctors allegedly refused her an abortion, in front of the Embassy of Ireland in New Delhi on November 16, 2012. New Delhi on November 16 demanded a 'transparent' probe into the death of an Indian woman in Ireland after doctors there allegedly refused to terminate her pregnancy even though she was miscarrying. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN (Photo credit should read RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Ireland abortion row

    Candles are left in tribute outside Leinster House in Dublin, after thousands of people marched demanding legislation on abortion after the death of Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.