Spurred by the preventable death of a pregnant woman, the Irish government unveiled a proposed law Wednesday spelling out when abortions can be performed to save the life of the mother, a controversial move in a country that still outlaws most terminations.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the bill would merely clear up the confusion surrounding when emergency abortions are allowed. But critics accused the government of paving the way for easier access to abortion, which many in the heavily Roman Catholic country oppose.
Anticipating a bruising political battle, Kenny warned fellow lawmakers of his Fine Gael party that he expected them to vote for the measure, even if they disagreed with it.
"I do hope that we can bring everybody with us, on an issue that I know is sensitive," Kenny told reporters, adding: "Conscientious objection … doesn't absolve people from responsibility."