Govt decides on legislation and regulations for abortion law

Govt decides on legislation and regulations for abortion law

The Government is to introduce legislation and regulation to allow for abortion in certain cases when a woman's life is at risk, including the threat of suicide.

Legislation in line with the Supreme Court X case will be drafted over the coming months by Health Minister James Reilly.

But, controversially, the legislation will be in line with the Supreme Court interpretation in the X case, meaning the threat of suicide will be legislated for as a risk to the life of a woman.

In a statement the Government said they will provide clarity for the medical profession about what is permissable. Doctors will still have to take full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.

The option was favored in the report of the expert group on abortion law which was considered at Cabinet today.

The Government said in a statement on the form of action to be taken in the light of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in 'A,B and C v Ireland' that "legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue".

Having considered the report of the of the expert group, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children will hold hearings on this matter next month.

The drafting of legislation, supported by regulations, will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case.

The Government statement said: "It was also agreed to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area.

"The legislation should provide the clarity and certainty in relation to the process of deciding when a termination of pregnancy is permissible, that is where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of the woman and this risk can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy.

"The Government has also noted and agreed to the request from the Health Minister Dr James Reilly for further decisions at a later stage related to policy matters that will inform the drafting of the legislation."

they said that much more work will be required in drafting the legislation and further decisions of Government will be required to inform the detail of the legislation and the regulations.

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Minister James Reilly said he was very conscious of the sensitivities around the issue.

Dr Reilly said: "I know that most people have personal views on this matter. However, the Government is committed to ensuring that the safety of pregnant women in Ireland is maintained and strengthened.

"We must fulfill our duty of care towards them. For that purpose, we will clarify in legislation and regulation what is available by way of treatment to a woman when a pregnancy gives rise to a threat to a woman’s life. We will also clarify what is legal for the professionals who must provide that care while at all times taking full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child."


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