Thursday, 13 December 2018
Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018: Report and Final Stages
I support the amendment, the rationale for it and the points that have been made by my colleague, Senator Mullen. The ultrasound is a soundwave scan. It can determine the gestational age of the baby and can provide clarity for the doctors. Our amendment proposes that it should be necessary for the doctor to carry out the scan, but that it should be entirely a matter for the woman to choose whether she looks at the scan. That is the situation in Canada and, as Senator Mullen mentioned, in Scotland. Section 12 of the Bill, which relates to early pregnancy, provides that a termination of pregnancy may be carried out for any ground up to 12 weeks. Given that we are making such a law, surely we should be able to date the pregnancy accurately. The only accurate way of dating a pregnancy is through the soundwave technology that is readily available through ultrasound scans. Dr. Mary Favier of the Irish College of General Practitioners told the committee that "the need for ultrasound scanning is becoming clearer". She outlined that it is an evidence-based approach. Surely we should be building that into this legislation. Our approach should be based on evidence so that clarity is provided to GPs in particular.