Thursday 27 June 2019

Abortion services to be phased in next month, says Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was confident terminations would be introduced in January.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is confident terminations will be introduced in January (Niall Carons/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is confident terminations will be introduced in January (Niall Carons/PA)

By Michelle Devane and Cate McCurry, Press Association

Abortion services will have to be “phased in” next month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar said he was confident that women would have access to terminations in January, but he said it was not a case of “flicking a switch” to make the service available in every hospital from January 1.

He made the comments after concerns were raised by some medical practitioners that they may not be ready to start the service as planned in three weeks time.

Mr Varadkar said the legislation had yet to finalise its journey through the Oireachtas and that the President always has it within his prerogative to refer to the Supreme Court.

“Assuming that the legislation is enacted and signed into law by the President then the service will be available by January,” Mr Varadkar said.

But like any new service it's not going to be the case of just flicking a switch and one day there is no service and the next day it's 100% available Leo Varadkar

“But like any new service it’s not going to be the case of just flicking a switch and one day there is no service and the next day it’s 100% available.

“It will have to be rolled out, it will have to be phased in, but I am confident the service will be available in January.”

Amendments to the draft legislation were debated in the Seanad on Monday.

Health Minister Simon Harris told senators that he had come from a meeting with medical stakeholders and that he was “very happy” with the level of preparedness ahead of services being introduced.

Mr Harris said 372 Irish women would seek abortions in January, regardless of whether the law was introduced, and that he wanted to take care of them with compassion in their own country.

Press Association

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