Government may have to delay publication of draft abortion legislation

Divisions emerging between Coalition parties over 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.

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.