Group likely to call for abortion law


Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch expects the report of an expert group on abortion to recommend legislation.

Ms Lynch did not think that the Government “had a choice” in legislating on abortion.

When the expert group reports “I think it would be fairly certain that they would recommend legislation,” Ms Lynch told This Week on RTE Radio.

“I don’t know what that legislation will be, I don’t know what events it will cover but I think it will recommend legislation. At that point the parliament will have to sit down and the Government will have to sit down and see how it reacts to that,” she said

While not everyone would “agree on every issue” and “clearly there will be differences” in “terms of legislation in this particular instance we won’t have a choice,” she said.

There was no point in putting the expert group in place if you are not going to listen to their recommendations, she said.

The 14-member expert group was established by Minister for Health James Reilly last year on the implications of a ruling of the European Court of Human rights on Irish abortion laws in A, B C v Ireland.

The European Court ruled in December 2010 that the State had failed to implement existing rights to lawful abortion where a mother’s life is at risk. The court found the State violated the rights of a woman with cancer who said she was forced to travel abroad to obtain an abortion.

Last week some 15 Fine Gael TDs said they would oppose legislation that would pave the way for abortion and insisted the findings of the expert group on abortion be discussed with them before it is brought to Cabinet.

Responding to Ms Lynch's comments, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said the expert group was " tasked with producing a wide range of options for consideration by the Government and is not meant to recommend one particular course of action".

If the group reported "with a narrow list of options, all leading to abortion, it will be not be based on medicine or law but politics," she said.