Government Resisting Efforts to Ban Abortions for Disability


TDs who opposed repealing the Eighth Amendment will press for a ‘disability amendment’ to be added to forthcoming legislation to stop access to abortion as soon as a disability is diagnosed. But Health Minister Simon Harris has signalled he will oppose the move, as the Government intends that abortions will be legal for any reason in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Efforts to amend the government’s abortion bill could delay the passing of legislation to liberalise Ireland’s abortion laws following the referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.


Independent TDs Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins said at the weekend that they would support proposals to specifically exclude disability in a pregnancy as grounds for abortion.


Mr Collins, a Cork South West TD with the Rural Independent Group (RIG), said, “If it means RIG have to table it, we won’t be found wanting if it protects people with disabilities,” he said.


Fianna Fail’s Mary Butler, who backed a No vote, also said she would back such an amendment to ban abortions where a disability is diagnosed.


It is thought pro-life TDs would propose the changes when the draft legislation is published and comes to committee stage in the Dáil in July or for report stage in September. They have maintained that they will not delay the passage of the legislation, but that they are entitled to introduce amendments.


The Government has always said that disability of the foetus will not be accepted as a threat to the mother’s health. It is intended to set this out in clinical guidelines, rather than in primary legislation.


Mr Harris told Newstalk radio that there would be no abortion clinics in Ireland and that abortions would be overseen by GP services.

Irish Examiner. June 4. The Irish Times. June 3. The Times. June 3.

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