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Harris to seek permission to draft abortion legislation over summer

It could be in place by the end of the year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Senator Catherine Noone (who chaired the Oireachtas Eighth Amendment Committee) and Health Minister Harris at Dublin Castle yesterday.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Senator Catherine Noone (who chaired the Oireachtas Eighth Amendment Committee) and Health Minister Harris at Dublin Castle yesterday.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris plans to bring a request to Cabinet on Tuesday to begin the drafting of the legislation for termination of pregnancy in Ireland.

There have been calls for the legislation to be enacted without delay following the landslide victory for the Yes side in the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment.

The country voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the amendment from the Constitution, paving the way for the legalisation of abortion in some circumstances.

Once Harris gets the green light from Cabinet, the legislation is expected to be drafted in the coming months and tabled in the Dáil after the summer recess.

The expected legislation would allow abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and in very limited circumstance thereafter, such as when the mother’s life is at risk, as outlined here.

Members of the Fine Gael-led government and the opposition have called for the legislation to be enacted as quickly as possible, with it ideally being in place by the end of the year.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar described the result of Friday’s referendum as “the culmination of a quiet revolution that has taken place in Ireland over the past 10-20 years”.

“We trust women, and we respect them to make the right decisions for their healthcare … this gives the government the mandate.”

Speaking yesterday, prominent No campaigner and independent TD Mattie McGrath said: “The people have spoken and I accept the will of the people.”

‘Open eyes’

Dr Peter Boylan, chair of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the former master of Holles Street, yesterday told reporters at the RDS count centre in Dublin that everyone went into the referendum with “open eyes“.

“They know what the legislation proposed is so I think politicians from all parties can take it that the legislation outlined by government is what the will of the people is.

“My experience over the years in talking to women, particularly older women, was that they were ready for this change and it wasn’t just the issue of abortion, it was the way women had been treated by this State over the years.

“We all know the litany of abuse that women and children have suffered so I think it was part of the sequence of redress for all of the wrongs over the years,” Boylan said.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

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Órla Ryan

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