Thursday 26 April 2018

Government finalises abortion legislation

Enda Kenny has defended his decision not to allow a free vote on the abortion Bill
Enda Kenny has defended his decision not to allow a free vote on the abortion Bill
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

The Government has finalised the text of the landmark abortion legislation.

The final legislation is not changed substantially from the earlier draft but the wording does:


·         increase the number of hospitals where abortions can be carried out;


·         alter what psychiatrists will be involved in assessments of suicidal pregnant women;


·         narrow the definition of the criminal offence of carrying out an illegal abortion;


·         allows the revoking of the licence of hospitals not following the guidelines.


However, there is no proposal for a statutory review of the legislation, beyond the annual report from the HSE on the number of abortions carried out, applications, assessments and appeals.

Health Minister Dr James Reilly briefed Fine Gael TDs and Senators on the contents of the bill and answered questions.

However, the meeting was not heated and TDs were “trying to get their heads around” what was proposed.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter gave a briefing on the legal aspects of the bill.

Earlier, Mr Kenny told the Dail he is getting up to 100 letters and emails per day from opponents of the abortion legislation.

But he has been accused of “demonising” the pro-life movement after he complained in the Dail of being sent plastic foetuses, letters written in blood and being accused of having the death of 20 million babies on his soul.

It is understood that Mr Kenny’s department has been getting a constant stream of correspondence about the abortion legislation – with up to 100 items arriving at his office in Dublin per day.

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