‘Restrictive regime’ on abortion will be agreed by Government, Rabbitte says

Minister says Protection of Maternal Life Bill will be a “workable solution”

Pat Rabbitte  said he respected the views of everybody involved but the Government was “under injunctions from the Supreme Court” to produce legislation. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Pat Rabbitte said he respected the views of everybody involved but the Government was “under injunctions from the Supreme Court” to produce legislation. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has said he believes a “restrictive regime” for access to abortion will be agreed by the Government.

Speaking in Dublin today, the Labour Party minister acknowledged the “delicate and sensitive” nature of the issue but said he believed the Government would produce “a workable solution”.

He was speaking in the wake of tensions in Government over the planned introduction of legislation to clarify the use of abortion where there is a threat to the life of the mother.

It is expected the heads of the Protection of Maternal Life Bill will be brought to next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

Mr Rabbitte said he respected the views of everybody involved but the Government was “under injunctions from the Supreme Court” to produce legislation.

“ We are, above all we are under injunctions to protect women’s health and for that reason we must do our duty as legislators,” he said.

“ I believe we will. I believe it will be a restrictive regime that will be agreed, but I believe it will be agreed and it has to be practical and workable.”

He said he hoped that Minister for Health James Reilly would be able to report to Government at Tuesday’s meeting. He declined to expand on details of the legislation.

He also criticised Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin for suggesting the coalition was “unravelling”. He was a member of government for 14 years and was now “ going around like St Francis of Assisi as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth making silly comments about the coalition unravelling”.

“The coalition is not unravelling the coalition is on a fixed course, determined to stay that course and bring this country back to economic recovery,” Mr Rabbitte said.

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