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Jun 29, 12:40 PM EDT

Ireland reports 26 abortions last year, 3 to deter suicide


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DUBLIN (AP) -- Ireland's Health Department says doctors last year performed 26 abortions to protect women's lives, including on three women who had threatened to kill themselves if denied one.

Monday's report is the first to document abortion in Ireland.

The predominantly Catholic country bans abortion in its constitution. But the government in 2013 legalized abortions in cases where doctors judge that continued pregnancy poses a risk to the woman's life. Granting an abortion to prevent a suicide requires a unanimous recommendation by a three-doctor panel.

Ireland legalized life-saving abortions after the 2012 death in the hospital of a 31-year-old woman who was undergoing a protracted miscarriage but denied an abortion because her fetus still had a heartbeat. Days later the woman, an Indian dentist, died from blood poisoning.

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