On Wednesday, the Irish parliament unveiled the Protection of Life In Pregnancy Bill which clarifies when a woman can have a life-saving abortion.
Under the new bill, women can terminate a pregnancy when there is a significant threat to her life, including suicide. In the case of an emergency, a single doctor can approve and perform the abortion. In non-emergency cases, a woman would have to get the approval of two doctors that the pregnancy poses a significant threat to her life and abortion is the only option. In cases where a woman is suicidal, she must have the approval of a doctor and two psychiatrists that the threat of suicide is legitimate. The bill will now be debated in committee.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny, was quick to clarify that the bill would not alter Ireland's current laws on abortion. "This bill restates the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland," he said at a press conference. "The law on abortion in Ireland is not being changed." Currently abortion in all cases is prohibited, including rape, incest, or severe, non-viable fetal abnormality. The only except is when a woman's life it at risk as a result of the 1992 Irish Supreme Court decision, known as the X Case.
The barriers to terminating a life-threatening pregnancy in Ireland gained international attention last year when a woman died after being denied an abortion. Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she arrived at University Hospital Galway complaining of severe back pain in October 2012. Hospital staff determined she was miscarrying, however doctors refused to remove the pregnancy until three days later. After the pregnancy was removed, Savita was transferred to intensive care where she died three days later of what was determined to be septicaemia (similar to blood poisoning).
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/1/2013; BBC 5/1/2013; Feminist Newswire 11/14/2012
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .