Reilly: Suicide risk women will not have to meet with six doctors

Health Minister Dr James Reilly

Health Minister James Reilly has said that no pregnant woman who is having suicidal thoughts will be forced to meet with six doctors before being allowed to have an abortion.

It follows newspaper reports at the weekend that women would have to meet with a panel of doctors - including a perinatal psychiatrist - before being granted a termination.

Minister Reilly said that the Cabinet will discuss the impending legislation tomorrow, and dismissed suggestions that the idea of panel assessment was on the cards.

The Government has committed to having the laws ready by July.

The Minister said that while the heads of the bill are not ready, he wanted to make it clear that suicidal women would not have to discuss their case with six doctors.

“With respect, I think some people may have formed the wrong impression,” he said.

"I do want to allay any misapprehension people have. It is not the case and nor was it ever going to be the case that a woman who is in a distressed state with suicidal ideation will be subject to interview by six different medical people either simultaneously or individually.

"That was never going to be the case.”

Dr Reilly said the draft Bill has not been written.

But he said he wanted plans for limited abortion to be discussed by the Cabinet tomorrow.

“I think the first thing to point out here – the heart of this is the need for legislation to clarify the situation for the women using the service and doctors who have to provide it,” he said.

“With respect, some people may have formed the wrong impression.”

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