A few weeks ago, Irish lawmakers were in the midst of a heated debate over abortion, much like their counterparts stateside. However, for the Irish, abortions are much harder to come by: the country has outlawed abortion in any form, at any time, for years previous. Until now, that is. On Tuesday, President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 into law, making history in the Irish reproductive rights movement.
This law is groundbreaking for the women of Ireland: for the first time ever, under certain circumstances, abortions will be available to women whose lives are at risk. The new law accounts for both medical emergencies and instances of potential suicide. Despite the once-bill's recent passage into law, this isn't the first time the Irish government has tried to make waves in the world of abortions. 20 years ago, the "X Case" led the Irish Supreme Court to rule that abortions should be accessible to women whose life is in danger. However, no legal jurisdiction was passed, so enforcement of the ruling was weak.
The abortion debate in Ireland came to a head when Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman living in Galway, was a denied an abortion that would have saved her life. Hopefully with a law now in place, situations like this one won't occur again.