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Abortion legislation to be reviewed in three years time, instead of five

The proposed legislation allows for the operation of the Act to be reviewed after its commencement next year.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE ABORTION LEGISLATION, which the government hopes will be passed and fully operational by the new year, will be reviewed in three years, rather than five.

Health Minister Simon Harris received Cabinet approval to put down three amendments to the Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which is currently making its way through the Houses. 

The first relates to the review clause, which states in the current draft of the Bill that the minister shall, not later than 5 years after the commencement of the law, carry out a review of the operation of the Act.

The minister proposes to amend the Bill to allow the review to be carried out not later than three years.

The second amendment concerns one section of the Bill that deals with early pregnancy.

The Minister proposes an amendment to allow a second medical practitioner to become involved following the three-day period, should the first doctor be unavailable.

The proposed amendment will ensure that when a medical practitioner has formed the reasonable opinion in good faith that her pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks and certified that opinion, and the woman has fulfilled the three-day period.

A second medical practitioner will then be permitted to carry out the procedure without a further three-day period where he/she has also formed the reasonable opinion in good faith that the pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks and certified that opinion.

This will ensure that should the first doctor she visited not be available, the woman will not have to wait another three-days after seeing a second doctor.

The third amendment is technical and relates to moving the placement of the offences provisions in the legislation to another section in the Bill.

In recent weeks, the Oireachtas Health Committee has been considering a number of amendments from TDs.

The legislation will go to Report Stage in the Dáil next week.

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