Government sets out position on abortion
Any seriously ill woman who is pregnant and who has had a request for a termination refused is entitled to a second medical opinion, the Government has told the Council of Europe.
The woman would also have the right to apply to the High Court for orders directing the “necessary treatment” to be provided, it said.
The interim scenarios which apply pending full implementation of the ABC judgment of the European Court of Human Rights are laid out in an action plan submitted by the Government to the council last Friday.
The plan lists the actions already taken to fulfil the judgment and outlines the options available to a woman who found herself in the same circumstances as Ms C in the judgment.
In 2010 the court decided Ireland was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of Ms C, a Lithuanian national living in Ireland who had been treated for cancer. She became unintentionally pregnant in 2005 but was unable to find a doctor willing to determine whether her life would be at risk if she continued to term, so she travelled to England for an abortion.
The council is supervising the execution of this judgment by Ireland, which has filed two earlier action plans on the progress made.
The Government said it recognises legislation requires it to take due account of the principles of European Court of Human Rights judgments.
“While the Government accepts and understands that the scenarios described above were not deemed to meet the requirements of the convention, they are available to women in the same situation as Ms C pending full implementation of the judgment,” it said.
The plan commits the Government to discuss the report of the expert group on abortion in the Dáil this month. It says the Government will make a decision by December 20th, the end of the Dáil session, on the option to be pursued to implement the judgment. The Oireachtas health committee will hold three days of hearings on the issues before the Dáil resumes next month, it says.
A further action plan will be filed by February 8th next year.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday it was “beyond time” the Government legislated for the X case, telling Labour’s centenary commemoration event in Clonmel it was the only party to hold such a policy since the late 1990s.
Labour’s is “the position of the people”, he said.