New abortion legislation plan brings thousands of protesters to the streets in Ireland

10 Jun 2013, 10:19
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New abortion legislation plan brings thousands of protesters to the streets in Ireland

After Irish government announced its plan to grant women partial access to abortion when their life is in danger while pregnant, thousands of people came to the streets in the centre of Dublin to rally against such decision.


Preliminary legislation draft conceded by the Irish ministers stipulates that limited access to abortion should be allowed in cases where mother's-to-be life is in danger.


Two decades ago, the Supreme Court of Ireland ruled that abortion was permitted in such cases producing society-wide debate. The ruling in the "X-case" in 1992 came as a result of a challenge by a 14-year-old rape victim to a constitutional amendment that aimed to prohibit abortion in all instances.


The abortion debate was reinvigorated last year when a woman, Savita Halappanavar, died after being denied abortion of her unhealthy foetus.


The following large-scale protests from both sides of the opposition forced authorities into action despite qualms among many members of Prime Minister Enda Kenny's conservative Fine Gael party.


Since then the authority of the Catholic Church over Irish society has weakened and now younger, less religious generations want to put an end to the practice of Irish pregnant women going to nearby Britain as means to abort their pregnancies.


Organisers informed that more than 40,000 people gathered for the "National Vigil for Life” outside government offices making it the largest anti-abortion demonstration in Ireland's history.


"The turnout today shows that the middle ground of Irish opinion is increasingly concerned about the government's abortion legislation.


"There are people here who never attended a pro-life event before. The message is getting through that this legislation is not restrictive or about saving women and children's lives", Caroline Simons, spokeswoman for Pro Life Campaign told demonstrators waving bright placards and balloons.


The new legislation is to be enacted by July when the parliament closes its session.


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