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Flanagan seeks removal of suicide clause from abortion bill

Meanwhile, Deputy Denis Naughten is seeking regulations for where a pregnant woman is unable to give informed consent.

Deputy Terence Flanagan
Deputy Terence Flanagan
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland.

TWO TDS HAVE tabled amendments to the proposed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, with one calling for the removal of the section concerning risk of loss of life from suicide.

Deputy Terence Flanagan, who was one of the ‘rebel’ Fine Gael TDs who voted against the bill on Tuesday, has tabled a number of  amendments. They include removing the ‘risk of loss of life from suicide’ part of the bill.

This section deals with it being lawful to carry out an abortion where there is a real and substantial risk to the mother by way of suicide.

His amendments also include replacing the words ‘medical practitioner, nurse or midwife’ with ‘person’ in relation to conscientious objection and carrying out a medical procedure under the act.

He also wants a part of the bill deleted that would compel a person with a conscientious objection to make arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as may be necessary to enable the woman to avail of an abortion.

Denis Naughten

Denis Naughten, who was one of the TDs who voted against the bill in the Dáil earlier this week, has suggested eight amendments.

One concerns regulations in the situation where a woman cannot give informed consent:

The Minister shall make regulations to provide for the procedures to be employed where a pregnant woman is unable to give informed consent.

The amendment also states that the Minister shall not make regulations under this Act without it being laid before and approved by each House of the Oireachtas.

A further amendment would be under the ‘risk of loss of life from physical illness’ section. Naughten suggests the following:

1) It shall be lawful to carry out a medical procedure in respect of a pregnant woman in accordance with this section in the course of which, an unborn human life is ended where—
(a) the medical procedure is carried out in accordance with regulations under this section,
(b) regulations under this section shall not contravene current evidence based medical treatments, and
(c) regulations made under this section shall not come into force without being laid before and approved by each House of the Oireachtas.
(2) The medical procedure employed shall not impede all efforts to sustain the life of the unborn, after the complete emergence of the human life from the body of the woman, where it is potentially viable outside the womb.

Yesterday, Fine Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton tabled eight amendments, one of which proposes that suicidal ideation be removed from the bill as grounds for granting a termination.

Read: Lucinda Creighton seeks removal of suicidal ideation from abortion bill>

Read: Varadkar: Expulsion of Fine Gael TDs ‘like losing a family member’>

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