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
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
The U.S. huffing over Ukraine jars with many after recent U.S.-led interventions, writes Simon Tisdall.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 0354 GMT (1154 HKT)
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is unapologetic about his government's response to opposition protesters.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
He's 12 years old and going blind -- so his parents are taking him on a trip to fill his world with beautiful images.
Track star Oscar Pistorius is accused of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Follow live updates of South Africa's trial of the century.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1357 GMT (2157 HKT)
To celebrate International Women's Day, CNN's Leading Women is inviting you to a Tweetchat.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Women journalists in the testosterone-fueled world of sports are still the target of abuse.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1027 GMT (1827 HKT)
Photographer Zack Seckler's series presents Botswana from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique view of the savannah.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Concorde is a thing of the past, but a number of companies are racing to release the first supersonic business jet.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 2059 GMT (0459 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
From U.S. President Obama's phone call to Russian President Putin, to a python swallowing a crocodile, browse photos from last week.
March 7, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Did you know that the idea to mark road surfaces reportedly came from watching a milk truck drip milk on the road?
The undersea cables wiring the Earth: this is what the Internet actually looks like.
Today's five most popular stories