Ireland parliament votes to allow limited abortion

Pro-life campaigners demonstrate outside the Irish Parliament ahead of a vote to allow limited abortion in Ireland, Dublin, July 10, 2013. Cathal Mcnaughton / Reuters

Ireland's parliament voted after hours of debate -- including an all-night sitting -- to allow abortion under certain conditions for the first time, after months of polarizing debate in the staunchly Catholic country -- including letters to the premier written in blood. 

Premier Enda Kenny has provoked a strong backlash by pushing for access to abortion when a woman's life is in danger, both sides of the debate have protested and his government has faced down more rebels than it did over austerity. 

The lower house passed the bill and the upper house, which has limited powers and is dominated by Kenny's center-right Fine Gael, is expected to rubber-stamp the decision, after which it will become law.


Pro-choice supporters hold placards in front of the gates of the Irish Parliament building in Dublin on July 10, 2013 during a demonstration ahead of a vote to introduce abortion in limited cases where the mother's life is at risk. Peter Muhly / AFP - Getty Images