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Monday 27 February 2017

Shatter insists abortion on grounds of suicide threat will be guaranteed in new legislation

Fionnan Sheahan
Political Editor

Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Photo: Tony Gavin
Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Photo: Tony Gavin

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter says it is "not an option" to leave out the threat of suicide as a grounds for abortion.

Fine Gael backbenchers are concerned about the inclusion of suicide in the forthcoming expected legislation on abortion in limited circumstances.

Mr Shatter says decision in the Supreme Court in the X case and subsequent court cases are clear on the question on suicide.

"It is not an option to leave it out," he said on RTE's Morning Ireland.

The minister said "the people have been absolutely clear" too in referenda in 1992 and 2002 on this question.

“The Supreme Court is absolutely clear about this issue and the people have been absolutely clear," he said.

"There were attempts made by previous governments in 1992 and 2002 to remove suicide as an issue, the people on both occasion turned that down.

“We have an obligation as the government to put in place the architecture to address these issues," he added.

Mr Shatter said the Government would make a decision within weeks on how to bring legal clarity to the issue in the wake of the publication of the report of the expert group on abortion.

“There's clear reasoning set out in the report as to what may be the preferable option, and those decisions will be made by the Government in the next three weeks,” he said.

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