The Irish President, Michael D Higgins, has just signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill into law. The move means that the Supreme Court will not test the constitutional vigour of the law and that it may be challenged in the court in the future. It also means an end to the uncertainty caused by the President’s move to convene the Council of State – a precursor to a constitutional test.
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill brings an end to the legal limbo caused by a Supreme Court ruling in 1992, which allowed women to travel to the UK for abortions if there was a “real and substantial risk” to life, rather than health. A failure to legislate following the ruling, and subsequent attempts to alter the ruling through referenda led to uncertainty among the medical profession and, finally, to a ruling from The European Court of Human Rights in 2010 which forced the Irish State to decide the issue once and for all.
Under the new legislation, women will be entitled to an abortion in Ireland if their life is in danger. This includes medical emergencies, terminal illness, or if the woman is feeling suicidal. The facts of each case will have to be agreed upon by a small panel of medical professionals, including psychiatrists in the case of suicide risks.
Constitutional law is a body of law which defines the role, powers, and structure of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the parliament or legislature, and the judiciary; as well as the basic rights of citizens and, in federal countries such as the United States and Canada, the relationship between the central government and state, provincial, or territorial governments. Source: Wikipedia
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George’s Channel.
Geopolitically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. As of 2016, 4.8 million people live in the Republic of Ireland, and 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus very moderate, and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant.
A strong Irish culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language. The island’s culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.