Lack of abortion Bill gestation limit abhorrent, says Shortall
Reilly rules out ‘cooling-off period’ for terminations from FG’s Michelle Mulherin
She said when a person was in a heightened state of anxiety they should not make life-changing decisions.
Earlier, Dr Reilly ruled out reducing the number of psychiatrists required to assess a woman seeking an abortion who is at risk of suicide from two to one.
Rejecting an amendment backed by Opposition TDs, Dr Reilly said it was “absolutely appropriate” that there should be two psychiatrists involved, along with one obstetrician. “I will not be accepting that amendment whatsoever,” he added.
Dr Reilly said this was because of the “absence of clinical markers” available to medics in such instances, such as biochemical blood tests, MRIs and X-rays.
“It was felt that in order to give a more secure diagnosis given the fact that the diagnosis and the certification could in certain circumstances lead to the loss of the unborn life, that there was a need for a higher standard of certainty.”
Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the requirement to have three medical practitioners certifying a woman was “unneccesary and unworkable” and would add to the “continuing and very sad exodus” of Irish women leaving the State to seek abortion elsewhere.
There should be parity between mental and physical health, he added.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said it was “far too onerous a bar to jump over for women” and the proposal was “too onerous, unworkable and unjustified”.
Earlier, Dr Reilly confirmed no hospital on the list of institutions where abortions can be carried out has the right to refuse to carry out such procedures.
Debate on the third or “committee” stage the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill has resumed at the Oireachtas Health Committee in Leinster House this morning.
The legislation allows, for the first time in Irish law, for terminations in cases where a woman’s life is threatened, including where she is suicidal.
The committee could discuss the proposed legislation until 9pm tonight if required, according to chairman Jerry Buttimer of Fine Gael.
Fianna Fáil TD Eamon O Cuív, who is opposed to the planned law, this morning asked Dr Reilly if the 25 hospitals where medical terminations can take place had agreed to be on the schedule.
Dr Reilly said Mr O Cuív’s question was not relevant because no right of refusal on the grounds of conscientious objection was granted to any institution.
Mr O Cuív said the institutions were private and could refuse. He suggested Dr Reilly could withdraw funding from the institutions if such a situation arose.
Dr Reilly said that was correct if committee members wanted to have a “theoretical discussion”.
A further vote is expected early next week.