Skip to main content

Irish politicians to vote on divisive abortion bill

By Ben Brumfield and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 2143 GMT (0543 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A bill would permit a woman to terminate a pregnancy if it threatens her life
  • It includes a provision for women who are suicidal during pregnancy
  • Conservative and Catholic critics say this opens doors to abortion access
  • Prime minister says it's a compassionate measure

(CNN) -- Abortion is banned in Ireland, a historically devout Catholic country. Come Wednesday, that may change a little.

Dublin lawmakers will vote on a bill that will permit a woman to terminate a pregnancy if it poses a threat to her own life, including if she is contemplating suicide.

It's the last stipulation that has raised the ire of conservative lawmakers and religious citizens. Catholic leaders have called it a 'Trojan horse' leading to easy abortion access.

But abortion rights proponents have said it will still be difficult for women to access the procedure, and passing the law will help stem the flow of Irish women traveling to Britain to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Ireland amends abortion law

Woman's death in Ireland abortion case ruled 'medical misadventure'

It is about "saving lives" when pregnant women are in danger, Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said. He said it won't change Ireland's general ban on abortion.

His government wants the legislation, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013, to become law before the summer recess at the end of this month.

Read more: Husband testifies his wife died after abortion was denied in Ireland

Members of parliament will discuss the bill, which has led to heated public debates, before taking a vote Wednesday.

They have allowed 12 hours for arguments before the mandatory voting deadline comes at 10 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).

Kenny has acknowledged how uncomfortable the proposal may be in the majority Roman Catholic country.

"This is an issue that has been very divisive and contentious for over 30 years," he said. "It's also an issue that is complex and sensitive, about which many Irish people have sincere and strongly held views."

"This is about women, it is about saving lives -- the life of the mother and the life of the unborn."

He is calling on the population and lawmakers to have compassion on both.

Opinion: If Ireland had abortion rights

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
In a plot straight out of Hollywood, federal agents gain access to a suspected Triad boss' Vegas hotel room by pretending to fix the Internet connection.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0434 GMT (1234 HKT)
Was it only black and Latino men who harassed a woman in NYC? The filmmaker has found himself in a race controversy.
October 31, 2014 -- Updated 0317 GMT (1117 HKT)
The history of human rights often overlooks the struggles of gay people. This must change.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT