Irish abortion bill signed into law


Irish President Michael D. Higgins attends a press conference on April 17, 2013 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.


Frederick Florin

Irish President Michael D. Higgins has signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act into law.

The law allows abortions under limited circumstances in the Republic of Ireland.

Medical staff can now terminate pregnancies when two doctors determine that there is a threat to the life of the mother. When there is an immediate emergency, one doctor can authorize the procedure.

An abortion can also be performed if three doctors agree that the mother will commit suicide if she is forced to carry her baby to term.

There had been speculation that Higgins would decline to sign the bill and instead send the measure to the Irish Supreme Court to examine its constitutionality, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The legislation was introduced after an Indian woman died in an Irish hospital in Oct. 2012 after hospital staff refused to abort her four-month-old fetus even though she had begun to miscarry.

More from GlobalPost: Ireland opens inquest into death of Indian abortion woman