Irish abortion law clarified for pregnancies that threaten mothers' lives following death of pregnant Indian woman
Outrage at death of pregnant woman in Galway hospital forces a government rethink
Belfast-born David McKittrick has been reporting on Northern Ireland since 1971, He has written for the East Antrim Times, the Irish Times and was The Independent's Irish correspondent for many years. He is the author of several books including Making Sense of the Troubles (2000) and Lost Lives (1999).
Wednesday 19 December 2012
Abortion will be legalised in Ireland but only when it is used as a last resort if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman's life, the Irish government has said.
In the wake of outrage over the death of a pregnant Indian woman in Galway in October, Dublin has announced new legislation and regulations to clarify when abortion can be used. It is not clear whether cases involving rape or sexual abuse will be included.
The move to dilute the near-outright ban is being rushed through after dentist Savita Halappanavar died in a Galway hospital from complications after a termination of her pregnancy was delayed despite her miscarrying for several days. Her husband, Praveen, said he had no doubt his wife would still be alive if the procedure had been carried out as she had requested.
Her death was followed by widespread condemnation of politicians who were accused of failing to clarify Irish law. A 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling allows for abortion when a woman's life is in danger, including from the threat of suicide, but it was never implemented.
Health Minister James Reilly said: "The government is committed to ensuring that the safety of pregnant women in Ireland is maintained and strengthened." He added: "For that purpose, we will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman's life.
"We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care, while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child."
The move was criticised by Irish bishops last night. In a joint statement the bishops said the current balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in law and medical practice would be "fundamentally changed".
"It would pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally justified in any circumstances," the statement added.
In recent weeks, there have been three debates in the Irish parliament on the issue, following the publication of the expert group's report and the death of Mrs Halappanavar.
The high-profile case is being investigated by the Irish health authorities.
The Republic of Ireland has voted on abortion issues in several referendums.
In 1983, the mother and unborn child's equal right to life were supported and since 1992 women have had the right to travel outside the state for a termination and the right to information on abortion.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Rotten egg smell could help battle heart disease and Alzheimer's
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...