Simon Harris Introduces Bill Legalising Abortion Services In Dáil

The bill, which would legalise abortion services, was largely welcomed by TDs, though many voiced concerns over the 72-hour waiting period.

Simon Harris introducing the bill to legalise abortion services.

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has introduced the Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in the Dáil. This bill would allow abortion services during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.

Minister Harris spoke specifically about the services:

“In situations where women present between nine and twelve weeks of pregnancy, the international evidence and advice that I have received indicate that GPs should refer women to the care of the consultant obstetrician in a hospital environment.”

Speaking about the need to take action following the results of the referendum, the Minister for Health said:

“Today we begin the job [the voters] have given us, of making the law that follows the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and after 35 years in the Constitution, in doing so we are also making history.”

Minister Harris spoke about the significance of the campaign to repeal the eighth amendment at large:

“It was a reaffirmation of the primacy of equality in our modern democracy and it was also a call for us to do more. More on women’s health, women’s equality, more on continuing to shape an inclusive and equal society.”

The introduction of legislation was generally welcomed by a majority of speakers in the Dáil, with a number of TDs calling for a quick processing of the bill through the Oireachtas.

Stephen Donnelly of Fianna Fail stated that there were aspects of the bill he disagreed with, including the three-day waiting period imposed on people seeking terminations.

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger echoed Donnelly’s concerns, calling the 72-hour waiting scheme ‘unnecessary’ and ultimately restrictive to members of lower economic classes.

Concerns were voiced over the language of the bill, which excludes intersex people, transgender men and other gender identities that are able to become pregnant, from the proposed legislation.

Independents 4 Change TD Joan Collins proposed a recommendation by Amnesty International that would make reference to a pregnant person, rather than exclusively using the term ‘woman’.

The government are aiming for the bill legalising abortion services to be passed well in advance of January 2019.

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