Public hearings on abortion proposals to begin in September

Dáil committee to consider recommendations of Citizen’s Assembly on liberalising regime

 Citizens’ Assembly chairperson Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Citizens’ Assembly chairperson Ms Justice Mary Laffoy. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Public hearings into the changes to the State’s abortion laws recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly will begin in September.

The Oireachtas committee set up to deal with the Eight Amendment to the Constitution will consider the 13 reasons the assembly set out when recommending the liberalisation of the State’s abortion regime.

The assembly voted overwhelmingly to amend the constitutional ban and recommended that the law be changed so that abortion be made widely available.

The committee’s public hearings will begin in September and it must make its final report to the Oireachtas by the end of the year.

The Government and the Oireachtas must then decide if there is to be a referendum on abortion next year. While there is broad political consensus that a referendum is likely next year, it is far from clear what the exact question will be, or to what degree laws should be liberalised.

Senator Catherine Noone said the committee, which she chairs, met on Tuesday night to discuss how they would get their work done within three months of the first public session.

The committee will meet again in September to finalise the list of witnesses and we will hold a public hearing on September 20th with Ms Justice Laffoy, the chairperson of the assembly.

The committee will deal with the Constitutional implications of the recommendations made by the Assembly in its first module.

Ms Noone said the committee would examine all aspects of retaining, repealing and replacing Article 40.3.3 and will hear from a range of experts.