2 May 2013

Abortion law proposed in Ireland

2:24 pm on 2 May 2013

The Irish government has agreed a draft law, allowing abortion if a woman's life is at risk.

Ireland is one of two countries in the European Union where abortion remains illegal.

The new legislation follows the death of an Indian woman in hospital, after staff refused to terminate her pregnancy, even though she was miscarrying.

The case of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist living in Ireland, caused large-scale protests, the BBC reports.

After an extended Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the government published the outline of the 'Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013'.

"The proposed legislation sets out a clear legal framework for women and for medical practitioners in Ireland," the government said in a statement.

"It will provide legal clarity for the medical profession of the circumstances where a termination is permissible where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of a woman as a result of a pregnancy."

On the issue of suicide, the proposed law states that a panel composed of one obstetrician and two psychiatrists must jointly certify that a termination is required to avert a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother.

The government hopes to enact the legislation before parliament adjourns in July.