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Abortion legislation ‘would have affected Savita treatment’: ministers

THE new abortion legislation would have affected how Savita Halappanavar was treated, if it had been in place at the time, the Government says.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly says he regrets the “tragic loss” of Ms Halappanavar and suggested the abortion legislation would have an impact in such cases.

“Obviously, it would have brought greater clarity to the situation for the treatments available,” he said.

Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said if the legislation was in place at the time, Ms Halappanavar would have had access to procedures.

Ms Fitzgerald said “who knows” what the outcome might have been.

Junior health minister Kathleen Lynch said there would have been “a different approach”

Ms Lynch said she must be “very raw for the family” and she was reluctant to comment on an individual case.

“In that particular case, the minute the request for a termination was asked for, then it would have triggered the process and a multi-disciplinary team would have come into being and it would have assessed that risk,” she said.

“There would have been a different approach,” she added.

On the technical detail of the abortion legislation, a number of new elements have emerged:

• the HSE will have to report to Government on the number of abortions;

• a new definition of the unborn is enshrined in the legislation;

• there is no cut off point into the pregnancy where the abortion can be carried out;

Taoiseach Enda Kenny appealed for a calm debate on the abortion legislation, the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill, 2013.

 

He said he hoped Fine Gael TDs will vote for the legislation, but ruled out any free vote.

“The debate on this matter to date has been considered and non divisive. And or my own part and on behalf of the Government, this is the Government position and we want this discussion and the basis on which it takes place to be in this fashion,” he said.

 

Mr Kenny said the law on abortion is not “being changed” with the legislation.

He said the legislation would bring certainty to pregnant women and legal clarity to doctors.

Online Editors