Irish Women Seeking Abortions May Be Sent to Psych Ward

by Darcy Sturges

Ireland has very strong anti-abortion laws. It’s illegal. That’s it. However, new legislation has been proposed that would allow Irish women to terminate their pregnancy if there is a threat on their life—including suicidal intent.

The New York Times explains that even if the bill passes, terminating a pregnancy will not straight-forward. If a woman’s life is in an emergency situation, one doctor will be able to approve an abortion. With non-emergency situations where a woman is still at risk, two doctors (one being an obstetrician or a gynecologist) will need to sign off on the procedure. For cases of suicidal intent, a woman will need approval from two psychologists and an obstetrician. According to the Irish Examiner, if a woman is denied a termination she might be forced to spend the rest of her pregnancy in a psychiatric ward. 

Protesters in Ireland demanding abortion rights

Yet even with these precautions in place, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill has the conservative anti-abortion groups in a tizzy as well as the Catholic Church. They fear that the law will be abused.

But Ireland needs to change; the current law has put and will continue to put women in dangerous situations. The Council of Europe has been pressuring Irish governments to change their policies. Women die from childbirth when they might have survived if a termination were granted. Rape victims must carry the fetus to term, as do women whose fetuses have no chance of survival.

And let’s face it: Irish women are still terminating their pregnancies regardless of legislation. An estimated amount of 4,500 women a year travel to Britain for the procedure. And let’s not forget the dangerous illegal procedures that surely happen. 


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