Irish government releases proposed abortion law

May 1, 2013 at 12:49 AM
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DUBLIN, Ireland, May 1 (UPI) -- The Irish government Tuesday released draft legislation that would set up a procedure for deciding when abortion is necessary to save a woman's life.

The Protection of Maternal Life Act is aimed at codifying a 1992 Supreme Court decision that abortion could not be banned as a life-saving measure, the Irish Independent reported. The high court included cases where women might commit suicide if forced to bear a child.

Under the draft legislation, a panel consisting of an obstetrician or gynecologist and two psychologists would make the initial decision. Women rejected by that panel could appeal to a panel of three more doctors.

Ireland has been under pressure to clarify its laws following a European court ruling that a cancer patient's rights were violated when she had to leave the country to get an abortion.

The death last year of Dr. Savita Halappanavar, an Indian-born dentist, at a hospital in Galway caused an international outcry. When she went into premature labor, doctors determined there was no possibility of continuing the pregnancy but refused to perform an abortion while they could detect a fetal heartbeat. Halappanavar developed a fatal infection.

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