Thursday, 13 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
As Senator Gavan said, these reasons were well aired and argued in the course of the work of the committee on the eighth amendment. The risk or threat of harm to a woman should be a high enough threshold for her to get access to the abortion she needs — full stop. I know, however, that the Minister is not for turning on this matter on foot of legal advice. He set that out quite clearly yesterday and I appreciate where he is coming from. I also accept the focus now is on the guidelines for doctors and practitioners, and that the matter is rightly in their hands, not the Minister's.
I am encouraged by the draft guidelines for general practitioners issued by the Irish College of General Practitioners. They are good, clear, sensible and enabling guidelines. I hope the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists will follow suit with similar enabling guidelines for its members and not allow any conscientious objectors to hijack those guidelines. I ask the Minister to ensure his departmental officials will ensure good guidelines are in place for doctors of all kinds, including general practitioners, obstetricians and gynaecologists. I will not be pressing the amendment but, since it is sponsored by a group, I obviously have to take cognisance of what colleagues might wish to do.