Divisions may delay abortion draft

Serious split emerges between Government parties on how to deal with suicide aspects of law

The Government may be forced to delay tomorrow’s publication of draft abortion legislation in the light of serious divisions emerging between the Government parties on how to deal with the suicide aspects of the law.

High-level talks took place over the weekend involving the offices of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, as well as Minister for Health James Reilly, in an effort to find a solution that would accommodate the dramatically different viewpoints of the Labour Party and sections of Fine Gael on the inclusion of a suicide threat as a ground for a legal termination.

Threat of suicide
Labour TDs and Ministers reacted strongly yesterday to a report that six doctors would be required to assess if a threat of suicide by a pregnant woman represented a real and substantial risk to her life. Labour Ministers Pat Rabbitte and Jan O'Sullivan said they would have serious concerns if draft legislation included such a proposal.

The new Coadjutor Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said he does not believe legislation was necessary in the Republic following disclosures at the inquest in Galway last week into the death of Savita Halappanavar. Speaking after his episcopal ordination at St Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh yesterday he said he believed all that was required was a strengthening of medical guidelines in such cases.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times