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Council of State meeting at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
abortion act

Some welcome President passing abortion bill, others not so much

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore described it as a “key milestone”, while the Pro Life Campaign said it was a “very sad day”.

SIMILAR TO HOW the debate went on the issue, there has been a mixed reaction to the announcement that President Michael D Higgins has signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 into law.

Following a meeting with the Council of State to discuss the legislation, the president chose not to refer it to the Supreme Court, instead deciding to make it the ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act’.

One of the first people to welcome the passing of the bill was Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who was present at the Council of State meeting at Áras An Uachtaráin yesterday. He described President Higgins’ signature as “a key milestone in Irish law”:

The enactment of this legislation, 21 years after the Supreme Court ruling on the X Case, is a historic moment, particularly for the women of Ireland.

However, the Pro Life Campaign described the passing of the bill as a “very sad day for this country”.

The group said they now plan to “devote its energies to the repeal” this law and will spend the coming weeks giving “very careful consideration on the best way to bring this about”.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath had a similar outlook and said the decision of the President to sign the Protection of Life Bill into law, “is on the one hand deeply regrettable but on the other hand it has now paved the way for legal challenges to commence”.

The Center for Reproductive Rights welcomed the President’s decision to pass the legislation that will  provide doctors clarity about the circumstances under which a woman whose life is at risk may legally end a pregnancy. However, they called on the government to do more ”in order to fulfill women’s fundamental human rights to health and reproductive autonomy”.

Related: President signs Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill into law>

In pics: President Michael D Higgins concludes meeting with the Council of State>

Explainer: What is the Council of State and why is it discussing the abortion bill?>

Explainer: What will Ireland’s new abortion law change?>

Explainer: How does a Bill become a law?>

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