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Ireland tells Europe that 'X case' law will be enacted by July

The a Council of Europe’s committee is told that the legislation to respond to the A, B and C case will be out next month.

A pro-choice rally in Dublin in December. Ireland has told the Council of Europe that legislation allowing abortion - within the terms of the X Case - will be in place by July.
A pro-choice rally in Dublin in December. Ireland has told the Council of Europe that legislation allowing abortion - within the terms of the X Case - will be in place by July.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT will publish draft legislation to allow abortion within the terms of the X Case next month – and hopes to have it in place by July.

Irish representatives at a Council of Europe meeting in Strasbourg have presented a timetable under which the legislation, which responds to the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case, will be in place by this summer.

A motion passed at the Committee of Ministers – which includes representatives from Ireland and the 46 other countries which have signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights – says the general scheme of the legislation will be published in April.

This refers to the drafts ‘heads of Bill’, which will be followed by the full text of the legislation – which will be progressed through the Oireachtas so that it would be enacted “by the end of July”.

The legislation is currently being drafted after a week of hearings by the Oireachtas health committee, where medical and legal experts – as well as pro-life and pro-choice advocates – offered their input on how the Government should respond to the A, B and C ruling.

In that case, the European Court of Human Rights – which forms part of the Council of Europe – ruled that the government had failed to provide an accessible and effective procedure by which it could be determined whether a woman qualified for an abortion within the terms of the constitution.

The Council of Europe committee said it “noted with satisfaction” Ireland’s decision to implement the ruling using a combination of legislation and regulations.

In advance of this week’s meeting, the last submission by the Irish government – submitted in mid-February - had not contained any prospective timetable for a government response.

It affirmed, however, that the draft regulations to give effect to the new abortion system would be published at the same time as the full legislation.

Read: Gilmore affirms government’s intention to legislate for X case

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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