Controversial Irish abortion Bill progresses

Legislation for abortion if the mother is suicidal has made further progress in the Irish Parliament, after two days of heated debates.

The controversial Bill, passed by 127 to 31 votes, now proceeds to the upper house (the Seanad), before being signed into law by the president.

The government expects the Bill to be enacted before the Parliament breaks for the summer on 18 July.


Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland say they plan to mount a constitutional challenge to the legislation in the Supreme Court if the president fails to do so.

Ireland’s constitution gives equal rights to unborn babies, and the bishops say the Bill contradicts that.

And a group of Irish Parliament members are expected to announce that they will seek a High Court injunction to stop Parliament from voting on the Bill.


They argue that the Bill contains two provisions that have been rejected in referenda and so cannot be voted on.

The new law would permit a woman to have an abortion if two doctors agree she is suicidal.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny whipped his party members to back the Bill.


Four members face automatic exclusion for voting against the proposals in the first reading last week.

Many pro-lifers argue that the legislation will open the door to future abortion-on-demand, by permitting it on wide-ranging grounds.

Religious affairs commentator David Quinn wrote in the Irish Independent that the Bill is “deeply illiberal” and “directly attacks conscience”.

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