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
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 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.