Ireland to OK Abortion to Save Mom's Life

Church attacks proposed abortion bill
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2012 2:24 AM CST
Updated Dec 19, 2012 5:39 AM CST
A woman holds a picture of Savita Halappanava during a vigil in Ireland. Halappanava died of blood poisoning after suffering a miscarriage.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
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(Newser) – Ireland is taking a fresh look at its abortion laws after the death of a woman denied a potentially life-saving abortion. The government has pledged to bring in a law that will allow women to have an abortion if their lives are in danger, including, controversially, from their own threats to commit suicide, the AP reports. Abortions to save the mother's life are already technically legal in Ireland under a court ruling, but there are no clear guidelines in place, leaving doctors wary of performing abortions even when necessary.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny—a conservative Catholic—says lawmakers who refuse to support the abortion bill will risk being expelled from the party. The Catholic Church's four Irish archbishops issued a statement demanding the government drop suicide threats from the grounds for granting abortions, and urging Kenny to allow his party's lawmakers to vote freely. "The lives of untold numbers of unborn children in this state now depend on the choices that will be made by our public representatives," the archbishops wrote. (Read more Savita Halappanavar stories.)

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