The Government announced today that a combination of legislation and regulations will be introduced to comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in the A, B and C case.
Minister for Health James Reilly presented a memorandum to this morning’s Cabinet meeting. The decision was taken to follow this route – the fourth option from the expert group on abortion - rather than proposing guidelines, an option favoured by anti-abortion campaign groups.
A statement released by the Department of Health said: "Having considered the report of the of the Expert Group on the judgment in A, B and C v Ireland the Government has decided that the implementation of this judgement by way of legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue."
In a statement, the Government said the drafting of legislation, supported by regulations, will be within the parameters of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in the X case. "It was also agreed to make appropriate amendments to the criminal law in this area," it said.
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The Government is to introduce legislation and regulation to allow for abortion in certain cases when a woman's life is at risk, including the threat of suicide.
Legislation in line with the Supreme Court X case will be drafted over the coming months by Health Minister James Reilly.
But, controversially, the legislation will be in line with the Supreme Court interpretation in the X case, meaning the threat of suicide will be legislated for as a risk to the life of a woman.
In a statement the Government said they will provide clarity for the medical profession about what is permissable. Doctors will still have to take full account of the equal right to life of the unborn child.
The option was favored in the report of the expert group on abortion law which was considered at Cabinet today.
The Government said in a statement on the form of action to be taken in the light of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in 'A,B and C v Ireland' that "legislation with regulations offers the most appropriate method for dealing with the issue".
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"International human rights groups" have contacted the husband of the late Savita Halappanavar and have pledged to help him in his European court battle.
Praveen Halappanavar’s solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, revealed the situation to the Irish Examiner after the deadline the widower gave for an independent State inquiry to be set up passed yesterday without progress.
Mr O’Donnell said that three days after he wrote to Health Minister James Reilly on the matter, the only response had been a note on Wednesday evening confirming the correspondence had been received.
Mr O’Donnell said he and his client are now committing to taking a European Court of Human Rights case against the State — with the move receiving "international" support.
"Given the huge amount of international attention this has received we do have offers of help from people in human rights groups [in relation to the case].
"There are a wealth of people, from Britain and elsewhere, who said they want to offer their services to Praveen. Some of these organisations are known internationally, although I don’t wish to name them yet," the solicitor said.
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TIMELINE: This is the story of one woman’s death in an Irish hospital, based on the account given by her husband and friends
Savita Halappanavar was admitted to Galway University Hospital with back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant. Seven days later she was dead. The hospital has said it cannot comment on individual cases and in relation to Ms Halappanavar, it must await the outcome of official investigations.
It’s a Saturday night, and Savita Halappanavar (31) and her husband Praveen (34) are holding a small get-together at their home in the Roscam area of Galway. It’s both a farewell dinner for her parents who are returning to India soon and an opportunity to announce to friends they are expecting a baby. Savita is 17 weeks pregnant. “Savita was very excited, very happy,” recalls Praveen. “All our close friends came to congratulate us.”
Praveen Halappanavar, husband of the late Savita Halappanavar, met Minister for Health James Reilly for a 25-minutes today.
They met in Galway in the company of his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell.
Speaking afterwards Mr O’Donnell described their talks as “positive”. The meeting was sought by the Department of Health and Mr Halappanavar agreed to meet Mr Reilly during a previously arranged visit to the city today.
Mr Reilly expressed condolences to Mr Halappanavar on the death of his wife at Galway University Hospital last month, on his behalf and on behalf of the Government.
THE husband of Savita Halappanavar has repeated his insistence that he will not meet the chairman of an inquiry into his wife’s death following a miscarriage.
Praveen Halappanavar said in an interview to be broadcast tonight on RTE's Prime Time that he would not co-operate with an HSE-run inquiry.
"We are just not confident in the whole family about the HSE leading this investigation," he said.
"These people are salaried by the HSE. They pay them. We think that there would be some kind of bias during the investigation.
"We are requesting a public inquiry basically funded by the Irish Government."
THE MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly has recognised the need for a transparent, independent inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar at Galway University Hospital – but added that the process needed to be expedited in order to ensure no further risk is posed to women being treated at the facility.
Responding to questions put to him at the Joint Committee on Health and Children this evening, Reilly said that ‘justice not only needed to be done, but needed to be seen to be done’.
“This is a very difficult and traumatic time for the family of Savita Halappanavar and I know that it’s going to be very difficult for them in relation to whole procedure,” he said. However, he added that he had a “duty of care” to women across the country to expedite the process so that if any further risks at the hospital remain they can be addressed.