Irish abortion law 'provides clarity'

Published Wednesday, 01 May 2013
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Ireland's abortion laws are not changing, but they will now provide certainty for women and doctors, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said.

Irish abortion law 'provides clarity'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the proposals will provide clarity on abortion. (© Getty)

Members of the Irish government held lengthy discussions on the issue of pregnant women at risk of suicide.

Proposals on the Protection of Maternal Life bill would allow abortion if there is a real and substantial risk to the mother's life.

That is in line with the ruling handed down by Ireland's Supreme Court in the 1992 X case, when a 14-year-old girl who had been raped was refused permission to travel for an abortion.

On Wednesday, the Taoiseach said the bill was not an attempt to change existing laws.

"This is about women. It's about saving lives, the life of the mother and the unborn.

"This bill restates the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland. The law on abortion in Ireland is not being changed. That law has been on the statute books since 1861.

Mr Kenny added: "The Protection of Life in Pregnancy bill will at last bring certainty to pregnant women and legal clarity to medical personnel who work within the system."

The agreement means an obstetrician or gynaecologist and two psychiatrists must agree that the woman is at risk of suicide.

If she is refused, the woman will then be able to appeal that decision against a second panel of three doctors.

Where the mother's life is medically at risk two doctors will be needed to consent to a termination.

The rules will also come into line with a European court decision that found a woman in remission from cancer should not have been forced to travel overseas for an abortion.

Ireland's government had come under pressure for reforms following the death of Savita Halappanavar. The Indian dentist died of sepsis in a Galway hospital last autumn. She was refused a termination during a miscarriage.

The heads of the bill will now pass to the Oireachtas for debate, after which legislation will be drafted.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Ben in Dublin wrote (635 days ago):
Stephanie what if a woman or girl is raped and gets pregnant. She should have the right to an abortion
Stephanie in Belfast wrote (636 days ago):
No person is at a risk of suicide. Suicide is a choice, those women should seek professional help, not being granted an abortion on a silver plate. There are many options out there and murdering someone especially one who hasn't seen the world yet isn't an option, everybody in this life deserves an equal opportunity, to live, to love, to explore and have an identity. Allowing women who feel suicidal should not be granted an abortion because this can lead to an increase of suicidal tendencies, also people have internet and can research what it means to feel suicidal and act just to get what they want. Totally wrong decision! Every life is precious!
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