Irish lawmakers today overwhelmingly voted in favour of a groundbreaking law that will allow abortion in limited cases in the predominantly Catholic country, following an outcry over the death of an Indian dentist after a miscarriage last year.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his coalition government pushed through the protection of life in pregnancy bill, which will allow for abortions only when a woman’s life is under threat if her pregnancy continues or if she is suicidal.
The bill was voted through early morning, shortly before 12:30 am (local time), by 127 to 31 against after marathon discussions on 165 amendments.
Ireland was forced to review its abortion law in cases where the mother’s life is at risk following the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital last October after she was denied an abortion.
Doctors had denied her pleas for an abortion, even though her uterus had ruptured, because the 17-week-old foetus still had a heartbeat. By the time it stopped, Halappanavar had already contracted lethal septicaemia or blood poisoning, investigations into her death later revealed.