Women's Rights Overseas: The Abortion Battle in Ireland

The debate over abortion in Ireland stays heated as lawmakers debate the passage of new reproductive rights bill.

While the battle over abortion is heated enough stateside, major waves are being made across the pond major waves in the abortion movement in Ireland. The strongly Catholic country has always maintained a policy of completely outlawing abortion, in any case, until now. Prime Minister Enda Kenny supports the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act Bill following the death of a miscarrying woman who was denied an abortion due to blood poisoning. The bill would allow for abortions when the mother's life is in danger.

What really has religious lawmakers and church leaders riled up is a provision that accounts for suicide, claiming that this could lead to anyone claiming a desire for suicide in order to receive an abortion. However, in order for this provision to work, women must get the thumbs-up from two separate psychiatrists and an obstetrician. Lengthy debates are taking place in the Irish parliament before declaring the bill's passage into law.

With the backing of the largest parliamentary majority in the country's history, the bill's eventual passing is as good as done, even with the past six governments refusing to do so. However, there's still strides to be made when it comes to reproductive rights in Ireland: Women who become pregnant after incest or rape are still denied abortions after a bill that would permit such acts was dismissed this year. Punishments for having an illegal abortion are hefty, as well: Up to 14 years in prison.

Diana Pearl
Diana Pearl

Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)