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12th Nov 2018

‘Irish people gave a clear instruction’: Simon Harris warns TDs against delaying abortion bill

Amy Nolan

'Despicable': Harris's anger as location of Ireland's 'first' legal abortion leaked

Abortion legislation is scheduled to pass through the Oireachtas before Christmas, with termination services expected to be in effect from January.

With a tight deadline for legislation, Simon Harris has warned TDs against delaying the progress.

Consultant obstetrician Peter Boylan, who heavily campaigned for a Yes vote earlier this year, has been tasked with liaising with medical colleagues from the HSE, the Medical Council, Irish Family Planning Association, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Start Doctors and the Well Woman Centre to come up with comprehensive guidelines for abortion in Ireland.

The Irish Examiner has reported that Mr Harris is due to meet Peter Boylan today to discuss The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill.

The publication reported that Minister for Health said that while TDs have a responsibility to critically asses the legislation, he warned against those who will deliberately slow the progress of the Bill saying:

“The implementation of any new piece of legislation requires scrutiny but the Irish people gave a clear instruction in the referendum in May to remove the Eighth Amendment and to care for Irish women in their own country. We must act on that instruction without delay.”

He reminded fellow cabinet members that while the country is in limbo regarding the legislation, Irish women with crisis pregnancies still find themselves unable to access services in their own country:

“It is important to remember women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies today have no alternative but to travel abroad to seek a termination. Nine women a day travel abroad, while three are accessing illegal abortion pills.”

Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution on 25 May and since then, Simon Harris has said that abortion will not cost anything in Ireland to ensure that everybody can avail of the services.

Further talks regarding the legislation with Simon Harris, members of the Health Committee and other TDs are expected to take place tomorrow.