Irish politicians to vote on divisive abortion bill
July 10, 2013 -- Updated 2143 GMT (0543 HKT)
- 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
Part of complete coverage on
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
April 27, 1994: Nelson Mandela's crowning moment and the day South Africa held its first elections for citizens of every race.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0319 GMT (1119 HKT)
His was a great sense of humor, with a dry wit and remarkable ability to render someone speechless with a well-placed one-liner.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Mohammed Jamjoon interviews the American performer who stunned the Arab world by singing in Arabic.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies. Here are 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Mandela.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
"Sometimes it just takes one incident to galvanize a society," says CNN's Sumnima Udas.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Drones hover like a bee, flap like a bird and bounce like a ball. These awesome flying robots are taking unmanned flight in new directions.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
The mysterious "catacomb saints" were venerated by the Catholic Church and encrusted with gold and jewels -- before disappearing for centuries.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
The KAZA conservation area is working to make it easier to cross borders.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1256 GMT (2056 HKT)
He started his first business venture with capital of just $200 but today, he is one of Liberia's most prominent businessmen.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
North Korea is showing no signs of scaling back its fearsome labor camp system, says human rights group Amnesty International.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1051 GMT (1851 HKT)
Meet 24-year-old Marita Cheng: the talented technician bringing robots to your home.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Japanese blogger Keisuke Jinushi started the "hitori date" (one-man date) blog two years ago.
Today's five most popular stories