Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act to commence on January 1st

Department of Health confirms order and regulations were signed on Thursday

Minister for Health James Reilly has signed the commencement order for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. It comes into force on January 1st. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Minister for Health James Reilly has signed the commencement order for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. It comes into force on January 1st. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 13:46

The order commencing the controversial Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 has been signed by Minister for Health James Reilly.

The order and regulations were signed yesterday with a commencement date of January 1st, 2104, the Department of Health confirmed in a statement.

It said the Heath Service Executive had been informed of the commencement date.

The Act allows for a termination of pregnancy where there is a real and substantial risk to a woman’s life from a physical illness, including from the risk of suicide.

The regulations - which were published in draft format during the debates in Oireachtas - relate to the prescribed forms for the purposes of certification, notification and for applying for a review of a medical opinion.

In order for a termination to take place, two medical practitioners will have to examine the woman and jointly certify that the risk to her life can only be averted by carrying out the procedure.

The controversial Bill was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins in July after he convened a meeting of the Council of State to advise him on it.

Mr Higgins could have referred the Bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality, but chose not to do so.

It had earlier been the subject of Oireachtas hearings and heated debates in the Dáil and Seanad.

Five Fine Gael TDs and two Senators lost the party whip after they voted against the legislation.