Tuesday 11 December 2018

Simon Harris to bring abortion law to cabinet today

Health Minister Simon Harris
Health Minister Simon Harris
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

HEALTH Minister Simon Harris is expected to bring the proposed law to allow for abortions in Ireland to Cabinet today.

He is to outline plans for exclusion zones to protect women seeking abortions.

Mr Harris is also to tell ministers that cost should not be a barrier for patients accessing services.

The health minister published the so-called heads of the Bill before the referendum but there is said to have been "minor alterations" since then.

One additional measure is the plan to legislate for "safe access zones" around premises where abortions are provided.

This is aimed at protecting patients and staff from intimidation or harassment as well as protests or graphic posters.

A source said that Mr Harris will also tell ministers that it's his "firm view" that cost cannot be a barrier to accessing abortion services.

The law will not yet be introduced into the Dáil due to ongoing legal challenges to the abortion referendum result.

This can't be done until the legal proceedings have finished.

However, it remains the government's intention that women will be able to access abortions in Ireland from January 2019.

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