Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Select Committee on Health

Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Committee Stage

11:00 am

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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Not everybody in this country is as progressive on the issue of inclusion as I would hope, expect and know members of this committee to be. I do not wish to ignore the legal advice that suggests that people could take challenges that could cause difficulties for people. None of us wants that to happen. Through my speaking points, I shared the totality of the advice I received and there is nothing I am keeping from the committee in that regard. This was one of the suggestions that I genuinely, and naively, thought we could surely just do, that is, insert "and pregnant person". I am duty bound, however, to share with the committee the potential unintended consequences of that.

In good faith, I propose to the committee that I will make available to it officials and legal advisers in the Department to outline the potential unintended consequences, as they have done to me, that I will meet the representative groups, either with a delegation of this committee or not, to alter the explanatory memo, and that I will talk to Dr. Boylan about the clinical guidelines. I cannot put anything in the guidelines myself and no one would want me to. Deputies Donnelly and O'Reilly are entirely right that the guidelines are one area where we do not want any lack of clarity for trans men. I hope to be allowed to do those things and work with the committee on them, and the Deputies will certainly have the right to revisit this issue on Report Stage, as will I if I identify a way of making progress on it.