Ireland allows abortion for first time, but at political cost


After two nights of heated arguments, occasionally descending into farce, the Irish parliament voted to permit abortion in limited circumstances, marking a major change in the country’s attitude to the morality of reproductive rights.

Fittingly for two of the hottest days of the year so far, Ireland‘s parliament debated what may be the hottest issue in the county’s political history since independence. As temperatures reached 80 degrees during the day, the heat went on into the night – in parliament at least – as lawmakers discussed the long-awaited Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The bill passed by 127 votes to 31 and will now be sent to Ireland’s Senate for further discussion – largely a formality, as the Senate lacks the power to reject the bill. But despite the overwhelming majority, the vote has fractured Irish politics, opening serious divisions inside Ireland’s two most significant parties, conservative Fine Gael and centrist Fianna Fáil, and change could be coming to the usually static Irish political landscape.

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