Ireland abortion bill passes first hurdle
London (PTI): Lawmakers in Ireland, a pre- dominantly Catholic country, have overwhelmingly backed a bill that would pave the way for legalising...
London (PTI): Lawmakers in Ireland, a pre- dominantly Catholic country, have overwhelmingly backed a bill that would pave the way for legalising abortion in life- threatening cases, after widespread outrage over the death of an Indian dentist following a miscarriage last year. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill passed its first hurdle after a 138 to 24 vote in favour, clearing up decades of confusion over the right of women to have abortions in extreme circumstances. The bill will now come up for final passage next week. The debate around the European nation's stringent anti-abortion laws was reignited following the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who died from septicaemia following a miscarriage in October last year. Her inquest in April heard how she was repeatedly denied a potentially life-saving abortion. Catholic leaders warned that the proposed new law, which faces potential amendments this week, was a "Trojan horse" designed to permit widespread abortion access in Ireland which, almost uniquely in Europe, officially bans abortion in all circumstances. PM?Enda Kenny insisted the constitutional ban on abortion would remain unaffected. "This legislation will only deal with a very small number of cases and will not change anything for the majority of women in this country. Ireland will still have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes in the world," the National Women's Council of Ireland warned.