Abortion Bill introduced in Dáil


Legislation to allow limited access to abortion is to be debated by the Dáil in private member’s time.

The Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in Case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012 was moved today in the Dáil by Socialist Party TD Clare Daly.

Ms Daly’s is seeking to introduce the legislation to “provide for termination of pregnancy where a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman exists” and to make provision “for the prevention of any curtailment, hindrance or preclusion of such treatment that may arise as a result of the pregnancy of the woman”.

The Dublin North TD said she was “delighted to put forward this long overdue legislation on the 20th anniversary of the 'X' case to enable women to avail of abortion where their lives are threatened”.

Ms Daly introduced the Bill on behalf of herself, Dublin South Central People Before Profit TD Joan Collins and Wexford Independent TD Mick Wallace.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe said the legislation was not opposed. Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett said that because it was a private member’s Bill, it would have to be taken in private member’s time.

The Bill is unlikely to receive Government support when it is fully debated in the Dáil.

The legislation aims to give effect to the Supreme Court decision in the 'X' case, which allowed for termination of pregnancy where there was a risk to the life of the mother.

Labour Women have endorsed the principle underpinning the publication of the private member’s Bill and “deplored the failure of successive governments” to legislate to implement the 'X' case, which was “a matter of urgency”.

Chairwoman of Labour Women Katherine Dunne said “no Irish woman should ever be left in a position where she is worried she will die but she has no clear legal route to get the medical help she needs”.

She welcomed the Government’s commitment to address the issue and called on the Government to “note the principle" of the Bill.

“There is more than one way to give effect to the rights set out in the X case and there are choices about the detailed provisions of the procedure through which women’s rights will be vindicated,” Ms Dunne said.

Input was needed from the medical profession, she added. “We urge Minister [for Health James] Reilly to take note of the provisions of the Private Members Bill and allow for the principles of the Bill to be taken on board by the Expert Group if it will assist in the speedy resolution of this long standing failure to legislate for the rights of Irish women."