Cabinet to discuss abortion law amendments

Monday 08 July 2013 06.07
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James Reilly appeared to rule out removal of suicide clause
James Reilly appeared to rule out removal of suicide clause
Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton claimed in a tweet that Minister for Health James Reilly was misleading people in a radio interview today
Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton claimed in a tweet that Minister for Health James Reilly was misleading people in a radio interview today

Minister for Health James Reilly has said the Government will bring forward amendments to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill next week.

He said the amendments will reassure those concerned over the life of the unborn.

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week, Mr Reilly said: "There has been a number of people who perhaps have been concerned that it wasn't clear about the importance of protecting the life of the unborn.

“That has been made very clear with amendments that will be coming forward and I think that's important.”

Over 60 amendments to the bill will be discussed next week.

A number of Fine Gael TDs have said they will not support the bill if it provides a legal basis for suicide-ideation as a reason for permitting the termination of pregnancy.

While Minister Reilly declined to discuss the details of individual amendments likely to be favoured by the Government, he seemed to rule out any removal of the reference to suicide, as has been sought by some of his party colleagues.

"If it was the intention to omit an entire section, no, that is not something that will happen," he said.

The minister also ruled out any further liberalisation of abortion in Ireland in the wake of the current bill.

Minister Reilly said the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill would be the only piece of legislation on the abortion issue which will be brought by the present Government.

Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton has claimed in a tweet that Minister for Health James Reilly was misleading people in a radio interview today, by claiming Fine Gael had made commitments in its election manifesto to legislate for abortion in the manner now proposed.

Minister Creighton issued the tweet while the interview was being broadcast.

Speaking later to RTÉ news, Minister Creighton said she was "frustrated" at what was being said and that it was "factually incorrect".

Elsewhere, Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin has said clarifications to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill she sought from Minister Reilly have not been addressed.

Michelle Mulherin said she will "consider where things are at when the legislative process is complete and decide what is the best thing to do."

Her constituency colleague in Mayo, John O'Mahony, said "a lot of discussions" will take place between now and Wednesday, when the Dáil votes for the final time on the controversial law.