Irish lawmakers vote to allow abortion in life threatening cases

Irish lawmakers voted today in favor of a bill that would allow abortion in cases where the pregnancy is life threatening. Abortion is otherwise illegal in Ireland. The Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that abortions are allowed to save the parent’s life. But the new bill is necessary because the court’s ruling hasn’t been effective in allowing abortion even in life threatening cases. We saw the tragedy Ireland’s abortion ban can lead to last year, when Savita Halappanavar died because she was denied a life saving abortion following an incomplete miscarriage.

The bill passed its first vote today, 138-24, and faces final approval next week. Even if it becomes law, this bill is only a first step. Restricting abortion to cases where it can be proved that pregnancy is potentially deadly is still not OK. But this first step is important in a country where abortion has been banned outright, and where religion has been deployed as an excuse to restrict reproductive rights. Ideally, this vote helps build momentum to allow full, legal abortion access in Ireland.

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Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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