Woman's death shows 'reality' of no legislation

Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 00:00

SEANAD:The death of a pregnant woman in Galway showed that the reality of the absence of legislation to deal with the X abortion case had finally hit home, said Kathryn Reilly (SF).

As legislators they could no longer shirk their duty to deal with the difficulties faced by women and medical practitioners in this regard.

A number of senators backed Ms Reilly’s contention, but others cautioned that the Galway tragedy should not be exploited to advance any agenda.

John Crown (Ind) said that while abortion was rarely needed to save a mother’s life, that did not undermine the need for legislation to cater for exceptional cases. The current legislative vacuum must be addressed quickly.

There might be other cases where similar decisions would be made by doctors, midwives or nurses “in the middle of the night”. He believed that allegations of dangerous advice being given by some family planning clinics to clients was related to the absence of legislation.

David Norris (Ind) said Ireland had been warned by the European Court of Human Rights over the opacity in the law which made it difficult to know what the reality was.

Ronan Mullen (Ind) said he thought it was clear from the Medical Council guidelines that women were entitled to all necessary medical treatment.

He understood that that included induced labour, if that was what was indicated.