Saturday 16 December 2017

Abortion law may need to be improved, says Reilly

Health Minister Leo Varadkar
Health Minister Leo Varadkar

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar is to receive a full report in the coming weeks on the circumstances involving a foreign woman who was refused an abortion, the Cabinet has been told.

Mr Varadkar spoke briefly with ministers about the woman's treatment at the hands of the Health Services Executive (HSE) last night but said a more detailed account is required.

Meanwhile, Children's Minister James Reilly said the operation Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act may need to be improved. Speaking to reporters, Dr Reilly said that the report into the treatment of the woman, known as Miss Y, will be closely examined.

"The Act is only in for nine months so we do need to give some time to study how it is being operated and see how it could be improved in terms of many of the conditions that relate around that," he said.


"Let's have a look at the investigation [into the Miss Y case] and see what happened there and have all the facts in front of us to see if there are things that need to be modified," he added.

"Rape is a dreadful and heinous crime and the consequences for women who become pregnant as a result of that is an extremely difficult situation."

"The Government are reflecting on that at the moment and will continue to do so and I don't think it would be right of me to pre-empt what their views might be before we have even had an initial update from the minister", he added.

While reports quoted Dr Reilly as saying the government would be "reflecting" on abortion in the case of rape, a Government spokesperson said he may have been taken out of context.

The young woman had said she was suicidal after becoming pregnant following a rape.

After being assessed by an independent panel, as provided for under the abortion laws, the woman's request for a termination was refused.

The trauma experienced by the mother at the centre of the case has sparked claims that the current law is "flawed".

Irish Independent

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