Monday 25 September 2017

what happens now?

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

THE abortion legislation is now passed into law – but doesn't come into effect just yet.

Following the signature of the legislation by President Michael D Higgins yesterday, the Protection of Life in Maternity Act, 2013 is now enacted.

However, there are still a number of steps to be taken before the law is actually used.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly has to sign a commencement order for the law.

Attorney General Maire Whelan has to finalise the regulations setting out in what circumstances the law is used.

The HSE also has to establish a mechanism for a review to take place. The review will serve as an appeals process when a woman is denied an abortion.

The review process is set out in Section 11 of the legislation.

The HSE has to make contact with the relevant medical and professional bodies about this aspect of the legislation.

Once all of these steps are put in place, expected to be later this year, Dr Reilly will then sign the commencement order meaning the legislation can then be utilised under the specific circumstances outlined in the law.

In the intervening period, the existing situation pertains.

Irish Independent

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