Experts say Ireland should clarify abortion laws
Reuters – DUBLIN | Sun Nov 25, 2012, by Lorraine Turner
(Reuters) – Ireland should allow limited access to abortion by clarifying the conditions under which women can terminate pregnancies, experts have concluded in a report that will fuel a debate which has split the country and led to tensions within the coalition.
Abortion was banned in all circumstances in overwhelmingly Catholic Ireland by a 1983 constitutional amendment, but when the ban was challenged in 1992 by a 14-year-old rape victim, the Supreme Court ruled a termination was permitted when the woman’s life was at risk, including from suicide.
Successive governments have however failed to clarify the conditions under which the mother’s life could be judged to be at risk.
The issue has been highlighted in the past fortnight by the death of an Indian woman in Ireland who was denied an abortion of her dying fetus and later died of blood poisoning.
The death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar re-ignited the abortion debate in Ireland and highlighted the lack of clarity in Irish law that leaves doctors in the legally risky position to decide when an abortion can be carried out and, critics say, means their personal beliefs can play a role in their decision.
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