Ireland moves step closer to legalizing abortions when mother’s life at risk

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, July 11, 2013 20:55 EDT
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Abortion rights supporters hold placards in front of the gates of the Irish Parliament building in Dublin on July 10, 2013 (APF)
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Irish lawmakers voted early Friday in favour of controversial new legislation that will allow abortion in limited cases where the mother’s life is at risk.

Weary lawmakers voted through the bill, by 127 to 31 against after marathon discussions on 165 amendments ran until 05:00am Thursday and 00:30 am Friday (23:30 GMT).

It passed easily as the coalition government enjoys a large majority and the support of some members of the opposition. The bill will now go to a vote in the upper house, where the government enjoys a majority.

The new bill will allow for abortion in limited cases where the mother’s life is threatened.

Abortion laws in Ireland’s, which is predominantly Catholic, became the focus of global attention and intense debate following the death of 31-year-old Indian woman Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital last October.

Halappanavar had sought a termination when told she was miscarrying, but the request was refused as her life was not at risk at the time.

She later died of sepsis days after miscarrying.

The bill follows a 2010 European Court of Human Rights ruling that found Ireland had failed to implement properly the constitutional right to abortion where a woman’s life is at risk.

Under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling, women in Ireland are legally entitled to an abortion if needed to save a mother’s life, but legislation was never passed to reflect this.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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