Abortion Bill will not address European court’s concerns, says Doctors for Choice

Bill will stop women seeking help with post-abortion complications

The abortion Bill will not satisfy the European Court of Human Rights ruling because of the restrictions it will place on suicidal women accessing terminations, the group Doctors for Choice has said.

The Bill requires a woman to get the approval of three doctors to assess her need for an abortion. It also allows doctors to refuse to carry out an abortion if they have a "conscientious objection" and this could delay procedures for women, said Richie Keane, co-ordinator of Doctors for Choice.

“It would fail the accessibility test,” he said.

The 14-year-jail term the Bill stipulated for an individual, including the woman herself, who carries out an abortion also continues the "chilling" factor identified by the court in its 2010 judgment, said Cathie Doherty of the Abortion Rights Campaign.


It could also prevent women seeking medical help if complications developed after taking an abortion pill since they could be liable for prosecution under the Bill, she added.

The chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which treats Irish women seeking abortions, said she expected to see no change in the number of Irish women seeking terminations if the Bill is passed.

"Our doors will remain open for any Irish woman who needs our services,"said Ann Furedi, who was yesterday visiting Ireland to meet pro-choice groups.

The service has 50 clinics in the UK and treats about 80 Irish women a month.