the first hurdle
December 6, 2018

Ireland seems to be digging out its Catholic roots.

Just before midnight Wednesday, Ireland's lower house of parliament easily passed a bill allowing free and legal abortions. The bill is expected to pass Ireland's upper house to become a law in a matter of weeks, The New York Times reports.

Ireland is about 78 percent Catholic, but that proportion has dwindled over the past few years. That drop has seemingly coincided with growing liberalism in the country, best shown by the country's legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 and election of a gay prime minister last year. Ireland also held a referendum on abortion in May, in which 66 percent of voters chose to repeal the country's constitutional ban on abortion.

After the abortion repeal, Ireland's parliament was free to introduce a bill protecting the practice. The lower house did so in October, and lawmakers squashed a "last-ditch resistance" from anti-abortion parliamentarians to pass it Wednesday, 90 votes to 15, per the Times. If the bill passes the upper house, as it's expected to do Friday, it would "legalize free access to abortion up to 12 weeks," the Independent writes.

Lawmakers aim to have the protections in place by the holidays so abortion services can start Jan. 1, per the Independent. But Ireland's Medical Council worries about this rushed schedule, saying they'd rather take time to perfect abortion guidelines for doctors, The Irish Times reports. Kathryn Krawczyk

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