Bill on abortion may not be passed by summer

It is a sensitive Bill which requires proper analysis, says Taoiseach

Clare Daly TD and Mick Wallace TD. Ms Dalys asked the Taoiseach what was he waiting for, in relation to abortion legislation.

Clare Daly TD and Mick Wallace TD. Ms Dalys asked the Taoiseach what was he waiting for, in relation to abortion legislation.


the proposed legislation on abortion might not be passed by the Dáil before the summer recess in July.

He said the heads would have to be approved by Government, sent to the Oireachtas committee for debate, and the Bill prepared and put through the Oireachtas.

“I would hope that it could be dealt with and enacted before the House rises for the summer recess, probably the second or third week in July, depending on how business goes.’’

It was a sensitive Bill which required proper analysis, with everybody having their say. “It is so important . . . what is central here is the lives of women and the unborn.’’

Pass all stages
Mr Kenny was replying to Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins, who asked if he could say definitively that the legislation, known as the the Maternal Life Protection Bill, would pass all stages by the recess.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said Mr Kenny had promised before the general election that he he would not introduce abortion under any circumstances. Any body who was suicidal was not in a fit position to make any life-related decision.

Earlier, United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly said she was sure Mr Kenny would have heard Praveen Halappanavar describe his wife’s treatment in the Irish hospital service as horrendous, barbaric and inhumane. Her death was one that the most eminent obstetrician in the country had said could have been avoided had she been granted the termination she requested.

Death’s door
Ms Daly said Ms Halappanavar had been left in agony and her treatment delayed until she was, basically, at death’s door, because of the failure of successive governments to legislate and the obscene distinction between protecting a woman’s life and her health.

“While there is no impediment to the protection of men’s lives, health or general well-being, in the case of women that is a qualified right.’’

Mr Kenny said it should not be the case that anybody in Ireland referred to women as being some kind of impediment to their children and to their children’s lives.

Ms Daly asked what the Taoiseach was waiting for. “Is he waiting for his daughter, my daughter or someone else’s wife to be in the same horrendous circumstance that Savita’s husband described?’’

Mr Kenny said he rejected the assertion that anybody in the House valued the lives of women less. Each case involved the life of the mother and the life of the unborn, and it was not a matter to be treated flippantly or glibly.