Thursday, 13 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
I tabled this amendment because I was concerned that "serious" is a vague qualifier and might require doctors to delay access to health-preserving treatment where a woman's health deteriorates, even in emergencies. I have been briefed by a series of female doctors who say the current wording sets a very high threshold for access to abortion in all circumstances after 12 weeks. Once the 12-week protective period has passed, lawful abortion will be available only for reasons related to a serious health risk. This is unlikely to serve the needs of pregnant people in Ireland, some of whom will seek abortion after 12 weeks for other reasons. These are serious considerations. However, I understand from my colleagues who attended the briefing that the evidence given by individuals such as Dr. Peter Boylan was so persuasive that they have decided not to push this. Therefore, as the proposer of the amendment, I am happy to withdraw it.