Saturday 26 May 2018

Reilly: No need for doctors to provide abortions ‘with urgency’ despite Savita case

Savita Halappanavar:
Savita Halappanavar:

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

HEALTH Minister Dr James Reilly has insisted there is no need to require doctors to provide abortions 'with appropriate urgency' to prevent a repeat of the Savita Halappanavar case.

It came after opposition called for an 'urgent treatment' clause to be inserted into the bill in the wake of the case of Ms Halappanavar- who died in hospital four days after suffering a miscarriage.

But Dr Reilly said he did not believe such a clause would have changed the outcome in Ms Halappanavar's case.

"As we know from reports we have received, there was an awful lot more involved than that," he said.

Dr Reilly said what would have made a difference was the 'clarity' being provided by the current abortion bill in relation to what could be done to treat women when their lives were at risk.

He said there was no need for doctors to be required by law to act with urgency where a mother's life was at risk - because this was normal medical practice.

"Very simply, doctors understand fully the urgency around treatment and to suggest you have to prescribe it in law is prescriptive," he said.

And he said that doctors who had a conscientious objection to approving or carrying out an objection could not sit around twiddling their thumbs.

Junior Minister Alex White also said that politicians had to stay out of the operating theatre.

The Oireachtas Health sub committee is currently debating and voting on 89 proposed amendments to the abortion bill.

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