Abortion services to face review after three years

Abortion services to face review after three years

The health minister has agreed to carry out a review abortion services after three years amid consultation with members of the health committee.

Simon Harris yesterday met with members of the committee and other TDs to thrash out changes to the legislation which will allow for the provision of terminations in this country.

The Termination of Pregnancy Bill passed committee stage last week, however, this was on the basis that Mr Harris review concerns that TDs had raised before the legislation goes to report stage.

It is understood that Mr Harris hopes to get the bill back into the Dáil for the debate the week after next as he has set himself a tight timeframe to get the legislation passed before Christmas in order to have the services rolled out by the beginning of January.

During the meeting Mr Harris agreed that a review of the service would be carried out after three years in order to ensure that the best care and services are being provided to women.

The health committee passed an amendment to allow for a review of the legislation not later than five years after it commences.

However, a number of TDs including Fine Gael’s Kate O’Connell said five years was too long to wait for a review and Mr Harris last week indicated that this would be reduced to three years at report stage.

Abortion services to face review after three years

TDs also discussed moving the offences section of the bill further back into the document, which Mr Harris yesterday committed to doing.

The minister had acknowledged that unlike most other pieces of legislation, this could be a bill that is quite regularly read by members of the public and placing the offences at the front of it could have posed problems.

Among the other issues raised by TDs was the stipulation that a woman return to the same doctor to access termination service after a three day waiting period as she attended for an initial consultation.

Concerns had been raised around this stipulation, especially in a hospital context, where the same doctor may not always be on duty to see the woman when she returns.

Mr Harris told TDs during his meeting that he would be bringing forward amendments on this certification issue a report stage.

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