Ireland’s government is tackling the controversial issue of abortion, allowing them under strict circumstances.
In the only EU country that bans terminations, abortions can now be performed allow only as a last resort if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman’s life.
It is a big step for the government on an issue that remains divisive.
“We don’t want to play party politics with this. The government is trying to move this issue forward and, as I said, we will play our part in this particular issue,” said Fianna Fail politician Billy Kelleher.
“But clearly what’s at stake here is that we have to get the balance between the right to life of the mother and also protect the unborn (child),” he added.
The Sinn Fein Party’s Caoimhghin O Caolain said:
“We’re going to have to, as legislators, face up to the challenges that clearly lie ahead in relation to this very complex issue and I believe that we must do so with compassion and respect for all views.”
There has been real pressure for the government to act since the case of Savita Halappanavar. The 31-year-old dentist died in a Galway hospital in October from blood poisoning after being refused an abortion as she was suffering a miscarriage.