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Friday 21 September 2018

Simon Harris confirms 72 hour 'pause period' for abortion cases if referendum passes

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Damien Eagers
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Health Minister Simon Coveney this evening confirmed women seeking an abortion will have to wait 72 hours for a termination once they have met with a doctor if the referendum is passed later this year.

He has also said the government expects to be able to name a date for the abortion referendum before the end of this week.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting this evening Mr Harris said the legislation will be in line with the recommendations of the cross-party Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

The idea of a pause period for a woman to consider her options ahead of a termination was seen as a key pillar of any legislation by Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

Mr Harris said this will be 72 hours.

It proposes to make terminations lawful when an appropriate medical practitioner has certified that pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks. 72 hours must elapse between the certification and the termination being carried out,” he said.

He added that terminations will only be available after this 12 week period in exceptional circumstances.

“In cases where there is a risk to the life or of serious harm the health of a woman termination would not be lawful beyond viability,” he said.

“Viability of a foetus would be assessed by two doctors, one of whom must be an obstetrician or a gynaecologist. If viability is established and the pregnancy is ended on health grounds it must be done through early delivery with a full medical team on hand.”

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