Ireland’s top health minister advocates for abortion bill

Ireland’s minister of health came out in full support of the nation’s hotly contested abortion bill on Thursday, assuring that hospitals would not be allowed to perform the procedure at will, but only to save the lives of at-risk women.

Dr. James Reilly said government officials would track and red flag hospitals that seemed to be performing the procedure too much, The Irish Times reported.

“More importantly, Irish women can be assured that everything possible will be done to save their lives in Irish hospitals,” he said, United Press International reported.

Abortion is largely outlawed in Ireland, a land where Catholic Church principles and beliefs play a large role and where the Constitution gives unborn the right to life. But pressures to allow abortion under certain circumstances have hit at lawmakers lately.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that abortions may be allowed when necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life — and that’s interpreted to include suicide, UPI said.

A woman who went into labor at five months last year died from an infection, after doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy, UPI said.

“I firmly believe that this legislation strikes the right balance in providing legal clarity around rights which already exist, while at the same time providing the clearest reassurance that any attempt to abuse this legislation will be thwarted,” Mr. Reilly said, UPI reported.

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