Saturday 18 January 2020

Abortion law reform decision expected by end December

Lise Hand and Lyndsey Telford

IRELAND looks set to bring in laws reforming the country's limited ban on abortion in the new year.

Health Minister James Reilly revealed that the Government will make its decision on whether to introduce a combination of legislation and regulations by the end of next month.

An expert group of medics and legal minds tasked with examining options for new rules on termination of pregnancy found that a two-pronged approach is the most effective.

Ireland has been gripped by debate on the need for reform of the limited ban on abortion for weeks after it emerged that an Indian dentist living and working in the country died in hospital after suffering a miscarriage and subsequently septicaemia.

Savita Halappanavar's family claim that she was denied repeated requests for a termination.

Dr Reilly said: "The Government decision in relation to this will be made before the end of December and implemented in the new year.”

He said it was important for everyone to have a chance to debate the issue.

He also said that after an Oireachtas health committee hearing on the report in January "we will seek to implement, through legislation, the decision of the government".

However, Mr Reilly then described his usage of the expression "through legislation" as "a slip of the tongue”.

He said: “Obviously I don't want to pre-empt the debate in the Dail and the decision of the Cabinet."

The report offers several options open to the Government.

One option is described as "an implementation option that would be constitutionally, legally and procedurally sound is primary or amending legisaltion to regulate access to lawful termination of pregnancy in Ireland in according with the X case, the requirements of the european Court of Human Rights and the judgment iin A B and C v Ireland."

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