Disclaimer: This post is being brought over to my current blog from my previous site, so it isn’t as up-to-date as the other issues I will be publishing.
Until a few days ago, abortion in Ireland was considered completely illegal.
However, the Irish Parliament has made an amendment to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 today, stating that an abortion is now considered legal if the life of the mother is at risk.
As noted in the prior article, there was uproar after the death of a woman named Savita Halappanavar. Upon arrival to the hospital, the doctors on duty concluded that she was experiencing a miscarriage, but refused to abort because they were afraid of legal ramifications.
Ireland is a largely Catholic country, so there has been plenty of angry feedback from religious leaders and lawmakers. They’ve called it a ‘Trojan Horse’, claiming that it’s a gateway provision that will ultimately lead to easier access to abortions.
The provision now states that in the case of potential suicide, a woman may obtain an abortion, as long as she has approved permission from two psychiatrists and an obstetrician that the threat is legitimate. Some female lawmakers proposed an amendment to permit abortion if the woman in question is a victim of rape or incest, but it ran into resistance and was tabled.
The end of the bill, however, still underlines the Irish laws protecting the unborn fetus and that abortion is wrong, reading: “It shall be an offense to intentionally destroy unborn human life.” Women who seek abortions under any other circumstances are subject to face a maximum of 14 years in prison. Doctors and staff involved in illegal abortion face the same potential charges.
The good news is that it passed with an overwhelming majority of 127-31, which is pretty impressive. It’s not much, but small steps are still steps.