Tuesday 17 October 2017

Enda Kenny: Clarifications being made to abortion legislation

Enda Kenny has said clarifications are being made to proposed abortion laws
Enda Kenny has said clarifications are being made to proposed abortion laws
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

Clarifications are being made to the contentious new abortion legislation, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has revealed.

Concerns have been raised over the lack of gestational time limits for a termination and the language and wording of some parts of the new bill, which legislates for an abortion when an expectant mother is suicidal.

As pro-life groups and pro-abortion groups prepare to hold counter-demonstrations in Dublin tomorrow, Mr Kenny warned the law was not about one particular individual, but about the women of Ireland and the lives of their unborn children.

He said Health Minister James Reilly and his junior colleague Alex White were discussing the outcome of several debates on the issue and putting together a number of matters "to clarify for everybody what exactly is involved here".

"The two ministers may have entered a number of amendments dealing with clarifications to the bill and they will propose to move on with those and obviously there will be a series of votes on amendments next week," Mr Kenny added.

Peter Mathews, Terence Flanagan, Brian Walsh and Billy Timmins were automatically expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party and face being kicked off Oireachtas committees after they voted against the Government in the first series of ballots on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013

As many as seven more Fine Gael TDs are said to be toying with rebellion over the bill, but they have until a final vote, expected early next week

Lucinda Creighton, Minister for European Affairs, is believed to be the most senior figure opposed to parts of the legislation - namely a clause allowing abortion when an expectant mother is at risk of suicide.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has continually warned that members of his party face exile if they refuse to support the legislation, which is expected to be passed before the Dail breaks for the summer on July 18

If enacted, the bill will legalise abortion where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the threat of suicide

It aims to legislate for the X case judgment from Ireland's Supreme Court, which found abortion is legal if there is a real and substantial risk

The case was taken by a 14-year-old rape victim who became pregnant and was refused permission to travel for an abortion

The European Court of Human Rights also previously found that Ireland discriminated against a woman in remission with cancer who was forced to travel overseas for a termination.

Ms Creighton later tabled a series of amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

Her proposed changes include legal representation for the unborn - something the Government has already ruled out - and for suicidal ideation to be removed from the Bill as grounds for granting a termination.

But she does outline a "care pathway" for suicidal women.

Elsewhere the junior minister is also looking for Minister Reilly to prescribe a time limit outside which all unborn human life is deemed to be viable and a termination is not permitted.

Press Association

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