Following the headline-grabbing death of a woman denied an abortion in Ireland, the country has passed a planned measure to allow emergency abortions, the Guardian reports. Women will be allowed to undergo the procedure in cases where the mother's life is at risk, including through potential suicide. Abortions due to rape, however, remain banned. The country's parliament voted 127 to 31 to support the new law, which was pushed by prime minister Enda Kenny amid excommunication threats from Catholic leaders. Kenny kicked 74 lawmakers out of his Fine Gael parliamentary group after they voted against the measure, the AP reports.
But with some 4,000 Irish women traveling to Britain last year for abortions, critics say the move isn't nearly enough. "Women pregnant as result of rape, women with fatal fetal anomalies, couples who simply can't afford to care for a (or in most cases, another) child, will still be left behind," says an activist. With the penalty for seeking an abortion 14 years in prison, the tough rules are likely to face court challenge, says a Sinn Fein MP. (Read more abortion stories.)