title: 'Landmark abortion decision in deeply catholic Ireland' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:
- sport tag:
- News 'Post Type':
Irish lawmakers on Friday overwhelmingly approved abortion for the first time in limited cases where the mother's life is at risk, in a vote that revealed deep divisions in the predominantly Catholic nation. VoR's Nima Green reports. Torn government Standing outside Irelandís parliament, anti-abortion protestors make their views heard. In the predominantly Roman Catholic country, Irish opinion is deeply polarised on the issue. Some consider abortion a fundamental human right for women, whilst others view it as tantamount to murder. Over the last few months Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he has faced death threats and received several notes written in blood criticising the new legislation. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013is a first for Ireland. However, it does not allow terminations in cases of rape or incest, or when there is a foetal abnormality. Yet pro-life campaigners say that the billís provisions to allow doctors to abort a foetus if a woman is suicidal is too broad, and will open Ireland up to too many abortions. X case In 1992 Irelandís Supreme Court ruled that terminations should be considered legal where a womanís life is at risk. The ruling followed the so-called ďX caseĒ. A 14-year-old girl became pregnant after being raped. Authorities banned her from leaving Ireland to have an abortion and she became suicidal. The Supreme Court overturned the travel ban and added that women should be allowed to have an abortion in Ireland, if there was a risk to the motherís life. However, opposition meant that the ruling was not implemented. Two decades late Every day 11 women travel from Irelandto the UK for an abortion and many say that todayís bill is more than two decades late. There have also been more recent high profile legal battles. In 2010, the European Court of Human rights ruled that womenís human rights were being contravened by Irish lawmakers not making medical guidelines clearer for doctors. Currently doctors risk being criminalised if they abort a foetus in the wrong circumstances. Both the doctor and the woman risk 14 years in jail. This uncertainty was highlighted in October last year, when Savita Halappanavar, a 31 year old woman died in an Irish hospital in Galway. She was rushed to hospital whilst having a miscarriage, and asked to have an abortion. However, she was refused and she died of septicaemia a week later. Her husband said that doctors said they were not clear whether her circumstances gave them the right to abort. Some pro-choice activists fear that doctors will still be left in the same dilemma. The debate over whether the bill really a liberalisation of abortion laws will continue. In the meantime, it is due to be signed into law as early as next week.