Traverse City Record-Eagle

Community News Network

May 1, 2013

Ireland legislates for limited abortion after woman's death

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Ireland's government published outline legislation allowing for abortion in limited circumstances, including when doctors agree a pregnant woman is at risk of suicide, in what Prime Minister Enda Kenny said is an attempt to bring "clarity" to the state's position on the practice.

Two doctors must agree a real and substantial risk to the life of a woman exists during pregnancy to approve a termination, according to government documents published in Dublin late Tuesday. In cases in which risk of suicide is a factor, three doctors must agree.

"This is an issue that has been very divisive for over 30 years," Kenny said Wednesday. "The law on abortion in Ireland is not being changed. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill will at last bring certainty to pregnant women and legal clarity to medical personnel who work within the system."

Successive governments, fearing a backlash in a mainly Catholic nation, have avoided introducing laws to fasten down the meaning of a 1992 Supreme Court ruling granting women the right to an abortion when the mother's life is at risk. The case of Savita Halappanavar, who died last year of septicemia after doctors decided not to carry out a termination, reignited the battle over abortion, among the most divisive issues in an increasingly secular society.

Under the proposal, where the risk to a woman's life is immediate, only the "reasonable opinion of one medical practitioner is required." A woman has the right to appeal a decision not to allow an abortion.

"It is not necessary for medical practitioners to be of the opinion that the risk to the woman's life is inevitable or immediate as this approach insufficiently vindicates the pregnant woman's right to life," the government said. "It will always be a matter for the patient to decide if she wishes to proceed with a termination."

Anti-abortion activists in Ireland opposed the inclusion of a threat of suicide as grounds for abortion, a move they fear could lead to terminations becoming relatively easily accessible. In a 2002 referendum, voters defeated a proposal to remove suicide as grounds for a termination.

Any person found guilty of acting to cause an abortion outside of the parameters in the proposals may face a 14-year prison sentence under the plan, including the woman concerned.

 

1
Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Swiftair Loses Contact With Air Algerie Aircraft LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August