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Changes Made As Protection Of Life During Pregnancy Bill Is Unveiled

Earlier yesterday afternoon, the Cabinet concluded and agreed the Protection Of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. In short, this means that in certain circumstances it should now be legal for a woman to receive a medical termination if her life is at risk due to the pregnancy.

The meeting this morning came after discussion was deferred yesterday, due to on going disagreements. The final wording of the legislation has now been agreed on, and is due to be published shortly. Once it’s published, the process of passing the legislation through the Oireachtas begins. TD’s will get a chance to examine the contents in the Dáil.

It’s not yet known if the final text will be greatly different to the previous drafts, which were published earlier this year. The Government has said that they’re aiming to have the legislation up and running before the Oireachtas breaks for the summer, which gives them about six weeks.

The process of passing the legislation will give some TD’s the chance to try and change certain points. Speaking before the Bill was agreed, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that he is “a Taoiseach, and also a Catholic … but not a Catholic Taoiseach”, and that the government would not be dictated by the Catholic Church. He also revealed that he’s received letters written in blood calling him a murderer, and that he’d been sent plastic foetus’s. He added that he had been told that he would have “the souls of a million babies” on his hands.

Update

There are two significant changes to the legislation contained within the Protection Of Life During Pregnancy Bill, which were not expected.

The bill still provides that no medical practitioner will be forced to carry out an abortion if they have a conscientious objection however it no longer includes a provision allowing an institution to refuse to provide a termination on the grounds of conscientious objection.

The Department of health has insisted that this was because the provision was unnecessary as they do not anticipate that the law will allow institutions to refuse to provide terminations.

The bill, which also provides a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for the offence of destroying unborn human life, requires the medical practitioner with the objection to provide for the “transfer of care” of the pregnant woman.

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  1. June 13th, 2013

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