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
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .