Ireland's proposed abortion bill published, readied for Parliament

June 13, 2013 at 2:00 PM

DUBLIN, Ireland, June 13 (UPI) -- Ireland will permit abortions in the country for the first time, but limit their availability only to women in medical danger, a proposed bill says.

The 18-page Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, published and released Wednesday, allows abortion if a woman's life is in danger or if she is at risk of suicide. It also identifies 24 hospitals in the country where abortions in these circumstances could occur and allows doctors to opt out of pregnancy terminations on moral or religious grounds, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Thursday.

The proposed law also includes a clause specifying that medical personnel who "intentionally destroy unborn human life" can be jailed for a possible 14 years.

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny said although he is a Catholic he is not a "Catholic Taoiseach," and feels obligated to represent all religions and none in the state, the newspaper reported.

As Kenny's government prepares to send the legislation to both houses of the Irish Parliament, a poll by The Irish Times and the survey firm Ipsos MRBI indicated 75 percent of respondents in Ireland in favor of allowing abortions based on the legislation's guidelines.

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