The abortion issue is heating up in Ireland, where a woman was denied termination under a new law—then threatened a hunger strike and was forced to have a Caesarean section, the Guardian reports. The woman (impregnated via rape, a friend says) demanded an abortion at eight weeks' pregnancy and said she was suicidal, but a medical panel turned her down. When she threatened the hunger strike, health authorities obtained court approval to have her baby delivered prematurely at 25 weeks. The newborn "has been placed in care," the Guardian says, and officials tell the Irish Times that they've launched an internal review.
It's become a test case for Ireland's new abortion law. The 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act allows for abortions in certain cases—like a suicidal woman impregnated by rape or incest, or a woman's life being at risk—despite a constitutional amendment that protects fetuses from inception. Now critics say the law is pointless, because suicidal women will struggle to persuade a panel of up to seven experts. Ireland's education minister says the constitutional amendment should be reconsidered (by a future government) but defended the law, saying it's "all that was possible under the Constitution."