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Irish Lawmakers Vote for Limited Abortion Rights

Irish lawmakers have voted in support of new legislation allowing for abortion in limited cases.

Parliament voted in favor of the new law early Friday with a vote of 127 to 31. Five members of Prime Minister Enda Kenny's Fine Gawl party voted against the bill and have been expelled from the party.

The controversial bill has provoked protests from pro-choice and anti-abortion groups. The bill allows for abortion only when the pregnancy presents a substantial risk to the life of the mother, or if the pregnant woman becomes suicidal.

The new legislation does not allow for abortion in the cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities.

The vote follows the death last year of an Indian woman who was denied an abortion of her dying fetus. Doctors said Ireland is a Catholic country and that they could not do anything as long as there was a fetal heartbeat. The 31-year-old woman died of blood poisoning a week after she was admitted to a hospital and three days after the death of the fetus she was carrying.

The legislation is not likely to stop the tide of Irish women who seek abortions elsewhere. Ireland's Health Ministry released new figures this week revealing that about 4,000 Irish women, including 124 under the age of 18, traveled to British clinics and hospitals last year to terminate their pregnancies.