James Reilly cautions against rushed response on abortion legislation

Sunday 18 November 2012 22.13
Expert group on abortion's report will be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday week
Expert group on abortion's report will be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday week

Minister for Health James Reilly has confirmed the report of the expert group on abortion will be brought before Cabinet on Tuesday week.

Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week, Mr Reilly said he agreed with the Taoiseach that the response should not be rushed.

He said it was his view that it could be early next year before a clear Government position is made.

Mr Reilly also said the terms of reference for the Health Service Executive's inquiry following the death of Savita Halappanavar would not be signed off without the approval of her family.

The 31-year-old woman died following a miscarriage at University Hospital Galway last month.

Mr Reilly said the HSE has a final draft ready to go and has attempted to contact her husband, Praveen.

The HSE has confirmed it has been in contact with Mr Halappanavar's legal representatives.

Meanwhile, more than 50 members of the European Parliament have called on the Government to legislate on abortion following the death of Mrs Halappanavar.

The 53 MEPs from 15 different countries have written to the Taoiseach calling for action.

The letter was initiated by Irish MEP Paul Murphy and MEP Mikael Gustafsson, who is chair of the Women's Rights and Equality Committee.

It comes as plans were outlined for an International Day of Protest on Wednesday with demonstrations at Irish embassies around the world.

Earlier, Minister of State for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan said the Government is determined to provide legal clarity on abortion.

She said the Labour Party’s view was that primary legislation will be needed, rather than proposals to draw up guidelines for the Medical Council or the Health Service Executive.

Ms O’Sullivan said she would not favour giving TDs a free vote on any abortion legislation, but added that Fine Gael would have to make its own decision.