New abortion law in place by July
Published 08/03/2013 | 17:41
New laws reforming the limited ban on abortion will be in place by the end of July.
The Government has informed the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe of its plans, which will see the legislation published next month.
The council's Committee of Ministers confirmed it had received a timetable from the Government.
It said in a statement: "The Deputies recalled that the committee highlighted the legal obligation on Ireland to put in place and implement a legislative or regulatory regime providing effective and accessible procedures whereby pregnant women can establish whether or not they are entitled to a lawful abortion, and that only the implementation of a statutory framework would provide a defence for medical doctors from criminal prosecution."
The statement added that it had "noted with satisfaction" the Government's decision to introduce legislation and regulations. The heads of bill will be published in April, and the legislation itself will be enacted before the end of the Dail term in the summer, the Government stated in a communique to the 47-member council.
The council's Committee of Ministers is responsible for ensuring judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) are carried out. The ECHR's ruling on the so-called ABC case found the state violated the rights of a woman in remission from cancer who was forced to travel abroad to terminate her pregnancy.
The Government announced plans for the legislation in December following recommendations in an expert group report published the month before on how to respond to the ABC ruling.
It also committed to enacting the legislation in accordance with the 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling on the X Case, which allows for abortion when a woman's life is in danger - including the threat of suicide.
The Government's decision to legislate for abortion coincided with the tragic death of pregnant Indian woman Savita Halappanavar, 31 who miscarried 17 weeks into her pregnancy
She died at Galway University Hospital on October 28 after contracting septicaemia. Her husband Praveen Halappanavar claimed she had been denied an abortion.