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Irish bill brings more clarity – and more heat – to abortion debate

The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill spells out the terms where women could obtain abortions, which are currently illegal. Ireland's prime minister vows it will be law by summer.

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Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny arrives to Sao Bento palace in Lisbon for a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho Monday. The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill will become law by the summer, says Prime Minister Kenny, but for now it has been referred to the parliament's health committee – and is also being scrutinized by legal, medical, and political groups outside parliament.

Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters

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It came half a day late, but late last night the Irish government finally published the "heads of bill" outlining its proposed abortion legislation – though it did little to stem arguments about the legality and morality of abortion in Ireland, where the practice has been outlawed.

The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill will become law by the summer, says Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, but for now it has been referred to the parliament's health committee – and is also being scrutinized by legal, medical, and political groups outside parliament.

As reported in The Christian Science Monitor Monday, the legislation comes days, weeks, months or even decades late, depending on when you count from. The bill follows a 1992 judgment by the Irish Supreme Court that said women must be able to obtain abortions if their life is threatened in pregnancy, including by risk of suicide.

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