Following the publication of draft heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 they will now go for detailed discussion in the Oireachtas Health Committee.

This process takes place before the legislation is drawn up and sent to the Dáil for debate.

Committee chairperson Jerry Buttimer said the committee will decide on the best way procede with its hearings once the legislation is referred to it by the Government.

Committee members
Chairperson: Jerry Buttimer.
Vice Chairperson: Ciara Conway.
TDs: Catherine Byrne, Regina Doherty, Robert Dowds, Peter Fitzpatrick, Seamus Healy, Billy Kelleher, Eamonn Maloney, Mattie McGrath, Sandra McLellan, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Denis Naughten, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Robert Troy.
Senators: Colm Burke, John Crown, John Gilroy, Imelda Henry, Marc Mac Sharry, Jillian Van Turnhout.

Mr Buttimer said the committee will meet in private session on Thursday morning to work out when the hearings are held and the format they will take.

He said that relevant legal and medical professionals will be invited to offer their views and to help to “tease out” the heads of the bill.

Mr Buttimer said that the committee had briefly dicussed the issue two weeks ago and he hopes to outline the programme of work on Thursday morning.

He said he hoped that the hearings would look at areas such as psychiatry, and medical and legal issues, where he said it was necessary to get further clarity.

The hearings will proceed in three parts:
1) Witnesses give testimony
2) Committee members ask questions
3) Non-committee members participate

Mr Buttimer said that some speakers who spoke at hearings on the expert group report in January would be invited to participate once again.

He said: "I would certainly hope that as part of our hearings we would have a very focused set of hearings on the area of the medical and the legal aspect, as opposed to what happened in January, which was on the broad thrust of the issue of the expert group and what the Government had decided to do."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil that it is his hope that the legislation will be on the statute book before the Dáil rises for the summer.