Live updates

Landmark law to allow abortion to save mother's life

Members of the pro choice movement group held a 24 hour protest outside Leinster House in Dublin ahead of the vote Credit: Press Association

The Irish parliament has passed a landmark law to enshrine a woman's right to a termination should her life be at risk, by an overwhelming majority.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was drawn up following the death of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who died in an Irish hospital in October last year after being denied an abortion as she miscarried.

Her widow claimed the couple had been told a termination was not allowed because "Ireland is a Catholic country."

Advertisement

Irish politicians to vote on abortion law

Irish politicians will vote tonight to legislate for abortion for the first time in the country's history.

Several members of Ireland's coalition Government are expected to rebel over the reforms, which will make it legal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy if her life is at risk.

Overnight a group of anti-abortion activists slept out in front of the Irish parliament, but the law is expected to pass.

Abortion battle reignited across America

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in demonstrations in Texas later tonight as the debate over abortion becomes a flashpoint issue in the United States again.

After Democratic state Senator Wendy Davis pulled off a 12-hour filibuster against a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, state Republicans are again attempting to pass the controversial vote.

More states are moving towards greater restrictions on the procedure - especially for late stage terminations - and some have already passed new laws.

Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.

Dentist's death highlighted issue of abortion in Ireland

The death of Savita Halappanavar as a result of a miscarriage in an Irish hospital last yearhas thrust the controversial issue of abortion in Ireland into the spotlight.

The Indian dentist died from multiple organ failure from septic shock and E.coli after being refused a termination.

Mrs Halappanavar's death sparked mass protests in Ireland. Credit: Press Assocation

The Government committed itself to legislate and overnight published a proposed law to allow abortion if there is a real and substantial risk to a woman's life, including the threat of suicide, by July.

Elsewhere, an investigation by the health watchdog, Hiqa, is examining the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration and as reflected in the care and treatment provided to Mrs Halappanavar.

Report into Ireland abortion death due

A report into the death of an Indian dentist after she suffered a miscarriage in an Irish hospital will be published today.

Savita Halappanavar was 17 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to University Hospital Galway on October 21 with an inevitable miscarriage.

She died from multiple organ failure from septic shock and E.coli a week later

Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in an Irish hospital after being refused an abortion Credit: The Irish Times

The 31-year-old's widower Praveen said his wife's treatment was "horrendous, barbaric and inhuman" and that she was left to die.

Two months after an inquest jury ruled unanimously that Mrs Halappanavar's death was by medical misadventure, Ireland's Health Service Executive will outline the results of its own clinical review.

Advertisement

Abortion statistics for England and Wales

  • There were 146 abortions after the 24-week limit in 2011 in England and Wales out of a total of almost 190,000
  • But overall there were more than 500 abortions after screening for Downs Syndrome
  • 92 per cent of women who are told their child may have downs syndrome opt for a termination
  • The National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register (NDSCR) say that of the 1,188 babies diagnosed prenatally in 2010, 942 were aborted, 25 miscarried or were stillborn, 52 were born alive and in 167 the outcome was unknown
  • However, the Department of Health only reported 482 terminations for Down's in the same year, less than half the number recorded by the NDSCR

Paralympics success triggered disability debate

The success of the Paralympics triggered a rethink of Britain’s abortion laws, campaigners have said.

Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock at the Paralympics Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

An alliance of pro-life campaigners and religious groups launched a new push to restrict the 1967 Abortion Act.

“The recent Paralympics made this contradiction yet more glaring,” they say.

“The athletes produced such astonishing examples of courage and triumphs over disability that we now have to rethink what we mean by ‘disabled’ and ‘able’.”

Load more updates