Ireland passes law allowing limited rights to abortion
Hugely important progress. It’s not enough (see below re. rape cases for example) but it is a start I thought I’d never see.
Irish parliamentarians passed a groundbreaking law early on Thursday allowing limited abortion rights in the republic.
Enda Kenny and his coalition government pushed through the protection of life in pregnancy bill, which will allow for abortions only when a woman’s life is under threat if her pregnancy continues or if she is suicidal.
Despite threats of excommunication from cardinals and bishops, the privately devout Catholic prime minister eventually won the vote after a marathon two-day debate in the Dáil.
Members voted by 127 to 31 to legalise abortion in cases of medical emergencies as well as the risk of suicide.
However, pro-choice and anti-abortion groups have already threatened court cases to challenge the new law.
The legislation which passed through the Dáil after 24 hours of tortuous debate will not stop the annual abortion trail from Ireland to Britain.
According to Irish department of health figures released on Thursday, about 4,000 Irish women travelled to British hospitals and clinics to terminate their pregnancies last year. They included 124 who were under 18.
The new law also does not include women who were raped, meaning grim traffic across the Irish Sea for abortions will continue.
Rest: The Guardian.