Oireachtas group to discuss AG’s advice on abortion bill

The Oireachtas health committee will discuss whether it can publish the Attorney General’s legal advice on the defeated fatal foetal abnormalities abortion bill — and if the Constitution prevents all terminations in these cases — on Thursday.

Oireachtas group to discuss AG’s advice on abortion bill

The cross-party group’s chair, Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, confirmed that the debate will happen after a formal request by Labour senator Ivana Bacik at the weekend.

While Mr Buttimer is limited in what he can say on the matter before it is discussed, speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday, Trinity law lecturer Ms Bacik said the advice needs to be discussed publicly “in a clear way” and that the committee showed that it could do this in 2013 after Savita Halappanavar’s death.

Despite accepting the Attorney General’s legal opinion — which is reported to have found that, as some fatal foetal cases can still lead to a live birth, the Constitution cannot allow a termination — is constrained to existing law, Ms Bacik’s said the row over its non-publication must be addressed.

She said a “small number” of cases where there is clearly no chance of life could still be legislated for, and as such the document needs to be made public.

Long-time pro-life campaigner William Binchy disagreed, saying that the issue is really about “do we value disabled children or not” and that “international experience” is that some of these pregnancies still lead to live births.

More in this section