By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory
Change is in motion in Ireland. Starting in 2019, women will be able to receive free and legal abortions in the country. Earlier this month, the lower and upper houses of the Irish legislature voted to pass the law. Now, women may receive an abortion into the 12th week of pregnancy. The referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which barred abortion, was largely passed by women and young people, reports Jezebel.
Said Parliament member Bríd Smith, this is “one of those rare moments in life when you feel such joy, the sheer joy of beating back the Catholic Church’s agenda, really beating it back for once.”
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Rewire.News reports that on January 1st, abortions will be legal up to 12 weeks. After this point, abortions can still be performed but only if there are fatal fetal abnormalities that are present. Abortion may also be allowed if two doctors sign off on the procedure, citing a serious risk to the pregnant person.
The law mandates a 3-day waiting period. Smith noted that this could potentially be used against those who seek the procedure close to the 12-week deadline. But, it’s still a step forward. Previously, the penalty for seeking an abortion was 14 years in jail. Even in the new legislation, criminalization remains a risk.
“There was a 14-year [jail] sentence for abortion put into the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which was brought in after Savita Halappanavar died in Galway,” Smith said. However, the 14-year sentence remains in the new legislation, “not for the woman or the pregnant person, but for the doctor or the midwife or whomever might perform an abortion outside of the parameters of the legislation. We want that gone because, if there is any uncertainty about dates, or it might be three days over 12 weeks or you might be 13 weeks, not 12, this will act as a serious chill factor on the medical services.”
Those seeking an abortion will receive the procedure for free. This was made possible not by universal health care, but the 1950’s Maternity and Infant Care Scheme. Its purpose is to promote free maternal health care.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Vladimir Nenov