Ireland has passed a new abortion law that allows women in the country to get the procedure for the first time. The law, however, is highly restrictive and will only allow abortions under special circumstances.
The move is seen as historic for Ireland, which has traditionally held strict bans on abortions of any form. While abortion will not be easily accessible, it will be permitted in situations where a woman’s life is at risk.
A provision in the bill states that this also may apply to situations where the woman is suicidal.
This recent push came after a pregnant Indian woman died in a hospital after being denied an abortion, says BBC. The 31-year-old woman was undergoing a dangerous miscarriage at the time. An abortion would have saved her life.
Debate has since risen in Ireland’s legislative houses, with a fierce anti-abortion struggle against the bill. This comes primarily from Irish Catholics, who make up the majority of Irish citizens.
They argue that it allows the intentional killing of a human life for the first time, a violation of their religious beliefs. It’s also believed by opponents of the new law that it will eventually lead to widespread access to abortions.
Those who support the new abortion bill say the new law won’t go far enough, expressing disappointment that abortions may still be denied even in cases of rape or incest.
A number of protests have been lead by both groups. Supporters of the new law have said they’ve received death threats and hate mail, some written in blood, reports Sky News.
The landmark abortion bill has passed through Ireland’s lower house, with overwhelming support. It will still need to be approved by the upper house.
The widening of abortion freedoms for women in Ireland come while debates across the US rage on, as a variety of states attempt to pass legislation restricting access to abortion.