News / Europe

Abortion Law Vote Polarizes Ireland

Abortion Law Vote Polarizes Irelandi
X
July 12, 2013
Lawmakers in Ireland have voted for the first time to allow abortions under certain conditions. The issue has polarized the predominantly Catholic country, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
TEXT SIZE - +
Henry Ridgwell
— Lawmakers in Ireland have voted for the first time to allow abortions under certain conditions. The issue has polarized the predominantly Catholic country.

After marathon debates this week in parliament, lawmakers voted 127 to 31 to allow abortions when a woman's life is in danger.  The decision follows months of debate.  Campaigners on both sides had staged 24-hour vigils outside parliament.

"The only procedures allowed in this bill are procedures which will result in the death of an unborn baby and with no indication that this is going to have any role to play in saving a woman's life," explained Caroline Simons, legal adviser to the 'pro-life' campaign that opposes the change.

Declan Meena supported the measure titled the 'Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.'

"I think it's just important that our side of the argument is here," Meena said.  "I also just feel like, like a lot of our society... I just need to be here in solidarity with the women who deserve this."

Despite the passionate debate, most Irish people think the issue is not black and white, said Mark Hennessy, London editor of the Irish Times.

"The majority of Irish people have come to the conclusion, at least on this narrow issue, that we're dealing with grey and that it will never be anything other than grey and we're going to have to deal with it accordingly," Hennessy said.

The bill will allow an abortion only when a woman's life is in danger or if she is suicidal. Supporters of the law change say previously doctors were unclear if and when they could terminate a pregnancy.

Last October Savita Halappananvar, an Indian dentist living in Ireland, died of septicaemia a week after miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy.  Her husband says repeated requests for an abortion were rejected by hospital authorities.

There was a global backlash - especially in India.  Among the most prominent critics was Ranjana Kumari, President of the organization Women Power Connect in India.

"This is totally unacceptable," Kumari said. "I think Ireland, just like in any other European country, has to change its law, to give human rights over a body to women.  This will not work."

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 12, 2013 7:55 PM
I think it is reasonable that mother's life is set more important than baby's life in some special conditions including mother's threat of life. The voting result looks make sense to me. Thank you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid