Reilly opposes abortion Bill

 

The Government is opposing the Private Member’s Bill implementing the X-case ruling and providing for limited access to abortion, Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has told the Dáil.

He said tonight that the Government had established an expert group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations on how the matter should be properly addressed.

“It would be wrong of me to pre-empt the report of this expert group before their proposals are to hand,’’ he said.

He added he was confident the group’s proposals would be sensible, practical and implementable.

Socialist Party TD Clare Daly introduced the Bill, entitled Medical Treatment (Termination of Pregnancy in Case of Risk to Life of Pregnant Woman) Bill 2012.

It provides for the termination of pregnancy where a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman exists and it makes provision for the prevention of any curtailment, hindrance or preclusion of such treatment that may arise as a result of the pregnancy.

Ms Daly told the Dail that the debate was not about whether to allow abortion in Ireland or not.

“Irish abortion exists,’’ she said. “It just does not take place in Ireland. And that is simply not acceptable in 2012.’’

Ms Daly said women made the decision to have an abortion for a whole number of reasons; none very easy and all of them valid.

“We absolutely reject the idea that these decisions are ever made lightly as a lifestyle choice,’’ she added.

The House will vote on the Bill tomorrow after further debate.

The Bill provides for termination of pregnancy where a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman exists and it makes 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.

Abortion is currently illegal in Ireland except in cases where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother. In 1992 the Supreme Court overturned an injunction preventing a 14-year-old from travelling to Britain for an abortion, ruling that abortion was legal where there was a real and substantial threat to the life of the woman.

Members of the Oireachtas were invited to discuss issues related to abortion at an event organised by the National Women’s Council of Ireland in Leinster House this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the council said the politicians would be able to meet women who travelled abroad for abortions after their foetuses developed fatal abnormalities.

She said the group of women, who were interviewed in yesterday’s Irish Times, would be available to meet interested members of the Oireachtas “and tell them what happened”.

Representatives of the Irish Family Planning Association will also be in attendance to supply relevant information.

It has been organised by Action on X, an alliance of groups and individuals who are calling on the Government to “act immediately to implement appropriate legislation on the right to abortion in Ireland”.