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Cabinet agrees upon draft of abortion bill

May 1, 2013 • Ireland, News,

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. (Pic: PA)

The Irish government has agreed on the wording of draft legislation on abortion after a lengthy Cabinet session.

The 33-page draft for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill allows for abortion where a woman’s life is under threat or there is deemed to be a suicide risk.

Its draft heads will be discussed by an Oireachtas Health Commitee prior to legislation being drawn up for introduction to the Dáil.

RTÉ reports one doctor will be able to approve an abortion in the event of an emergency threatening a pregnant woman’s life; two in a non-emergency threat and three – two psychiatrists and one obstetrician – in the case of a threat of suicide.

The bill also provides for a process for review if an abortion is not approved under the above circumstances.

Senior ministers emerged from Cabinet late into the evening – after they were forced to break their weekly meeting earlier because they were unable to get through all the items on the agenda.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was earlier forced to deny speculation that a rift between TDs had caused discussions to overrun.

There had been much-publicised division between the coalition partners, and within Fine Gael itself, on whether suicide should be deemed grounds for an abortion.

“We considered 28 items this morning,” Mr Kenny said, before the wording was published.

“Before we got to another item, we didn’t have time to get through it.”

The Taoiseach added that he was still hopeful the new law limiting the ban on abortion would come into effect before the Dáil summer recess in July – as planned.

The government committed to reforming the ban on abortion by July following the death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital last year after being denied a termination during miscarriage.

A European court ruling also found that a woman in remission from cancer should not have been forced to travel overseas for an abortion.

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