Church urges Irish Catholics to oppose abortion law reform

Church urges Irish Catholics to oppose abortion law reform

Health Minister Simon Harris was outlining his policy statement on the type of abortion services that would be provided should the Eighth Amendment be repealed.

"We will not be able to address issues in relation to women who have had fatal fetal abnormalities in their pregnancy, in relation to women and girls who have been raped and abused in this country, to the fact that our daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, work colleagues could be using the abortion pill without medical supervision", Harris said.

Campaigners are seeking to allow for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

Cabinet approved a referendum bill on Thursday and the Dáil will begin debating it this morning.

The exact wording would be: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy".

"These recommendations are extremely important to me as Minister for Health and to my commitment to ensuring that all women accessing maternity services should receive the same standard of safe, high-quality care", he said.

Currently, the penalty for an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison and they are only allowed legally if the mother's life is at risk from the pregnancy.

Mr Harris told the Dail he was mindful of the impact of the Eighth Amendment since it was inserted 35 years ago.




These include that there should be some time between the initial medical assessment of the pregnant woman and a termination being carried out.

"I think what the Supreme Court did was it showed how lucky we are to have the Eighth Amendment".

It comes after Ireland's Supreme Court ruled that state protections for unborn babies do not extend beyond the right to life.

"And it's about trusting our doctors to decide when continuing with a pregnancy is a risk to the life or health of a woman.Above all it's about trusting Irish people to consider this matter in depth, with compassion and empathy, as I know they will".

A policy paper is also being discussed today, outlining the legislative parameters of what will replace the eighth Amendment in the event that the public votes in favour of a repeal in May.

"The Labour Party was very clear in 1983 that the Eighth Amendment was the wrong amendment for our Constitution and for Ireland, for the people of Ireland and particularly for the women of Ireland".

The debate on the controversial issue is due to resume after the St Patrick's Day week-long break on March 20.

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