The Irish Question

CHRIS BACON-PA

In 1997, Ahern pledged to hold a referendum on abortion

Ireland has a tradition of dealing with difficult social issues by making them go away. "We export our problems," says Liz McManus, a member of the Irish Parliament. "We sent our unemployed. We sent our criminals." And today, Ireland sends some 7,000 women each year to Britain to end unwanted pregnancies.

The women go because, under Irish law, only a threat to a mother's life is legal grounds for abortion. Next week, the country will vote on a constitutional amendment that would tighten the E.U.'s most restrictive abortion law further by eliminating psychiatric threats — in other words, potential suicide...

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