Government to wait for court ruling before legislating on abortion
The Government will not introduce any legislation to implement the outcome of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment until court challenges to the result have concluded.
Reports emerged this weekend that Minister for Health Simon Harris was considering introducing an interim law to assist women who have received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality and to decriminalise women who procure an abortion.
Government figures have denied this and say it will seek to implement one piece of legislation, which will not be introduced until the challenge to the referendum result concludes.
However, Mr Harris is intending to commence certain aspects of the legislation earlier than others.
“The Minister is specifically looking at two areas: the ability for a doctor to give information and refer, and the decriminalisation of women.
“He hopes that both issues could be addressed and commenced this year. Abortion services would then commence in January,” the source added.
Three separate legal challenges were initiated against the result of the referendum, which took place on May 25th.
Last month, the High Court refused leave to challenge the results but Dublin woman Joanna Jordan is appealing that decision.
The case will be heard on Friday.
The court cases have resulted in a delay in the introduction of legislation to regulate the termination of pregnancy.
The law remains the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, which states abortion is only legal when a mother’s life is at risk including by way of suicide.
Government figures declined to comment on the court process but said it was still their ambition to introduce services by January 2019.
However, it is hopeful certain aspects of the legislation can be put in place earlier than others.
For example, the Government will seek to repeal the Information Act and allow doctors here share information on their patients with medical professionals in the United Kingdom before the end of the year.
It will also aim to remove the threat of 14-year prison sentence for women who procure an abortion in this country.