Ireland's President Finally Signs First Legal Abortion Bill Into Law


(Some) abortion is now legal in Ireland for the first time, thanks to the country’s new “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill,” which legalizes abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at stake, including risk of suicide. Whoa: it’s an abortion bill that associates the term “life” with living, breathing women instead of innocent unborn angels!

President Michael D. Higgins signed the bill himself on Tuesday instead of referring it to Ireland’s Supreme Court to determine its constitutionality, which “surprised some analysts,” according to the New York Times. Doesn’t seem very surprising to us, given Savita Halappanavar’s horrific and completely preventable death last October. Since then, the country has been scrambling to figure out a “compromise” between those who think abortion should be safe and legal for all women and those who were just fine with Ireland’s only abortion legislation — which was, until yesterday, a 1867 law barring the practice with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The law isn’t ideal, but it’s a step towards actually protecting women. Predictably, anti-abortion activists are likely to pursue a Supreme Court challenge.

[New York Times]

Image via AP.

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