This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ireland Takes Some Baby Steps Toward Reproductive Rights

Ireland has had one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws of any developed nation for a long time--no abortion, any time, for any reason. In February of this year, the Economist put the situation into its current context:
THE Irish Supreme Court ruled 21 years ago that abortion was legal if the risk that pregnancy might prompt suicide put the life of a woman in grave danger. The case involved a sexually abused and suicidal teenager whom the lower courts stopped from travelling to England for an abortion, a decision the Supreme Court reversed. Yet successive governments ignored the court’s decision. Ireland still has one of the rich world’s most restrictive abortion regimes. Every year over 4,000 Irish women go to Britain to terminate their pregnancies: a British solution to an Irish problem.
Three years ago, however, the European Court of Human Rights embarrassed the politicians into taking action by calling on Ireland to clarify its abortion law. More recently, the debate was reignited by an international outcry when an Indian-born dentist died in a Galway hospital after a miscarriage, despite her repeated requests for an abortion.
Yesterday's New York Times reports that the Irish Parliament finally is poised to pass a law that will, for the first time in Irish history, allow abortion under at least some circumstances:
The measure, called the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, would allow for an abortion when the life of the mother was threatened or if there was a possibility of suicide.
While this is obviously still very restrictive, it is clearly a step in the right direction, and stands in stark contrast to the many Republican Party legislators in the US who would prefer the old Irish way.

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