Monday 16 September 2019

Word 'abortion' will not be in new law extending grounds for termination

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

THE word "abortion" will not be inserted in the proposed legislation which will extend the grounds for termination of pregnancy following the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

An amendment calling for its insertion in The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 was not accepted today.

The discussion over the wording arose at the Oireachtas health committee which is discussing amendments to the law.

TDs Bríd Smith and Louise O’Reilly had proposed the word “abortion” be inserted.

They suggested that the wording  would better reflect the vote of the people in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

However, Health Minister Simon Harris said the Bill has been drafted to mirror the language put before the people in the referendum.

He said that  “to change it would not be in line with the legal advice received.”

“The word abortion is not in the Constitution either,” he said.The amendment was withdrawn.

Concerns were also raised that part of the Bill’s wording could exclude transgender people.

In response the minister said that changing the wording to “pregnant person” could have unintended consequences and he said he did not see a transgender person who is pregnant being discriminated against.

However, he agreed to amend the explanatory memo accompanying the Bill to clarify the issue and also ensure there was no exclusion of a transgender person in clinical guidelines which will govern how the law will work in practice.

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