In a statement this morning Richard Boyd Barrett TD expressed grave concern over the restrictive and punitive nature of the proposed Bill for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy 2013.
The proposed bill requires a potential 2 panels of 3 doctors before a suicidal woman would be allowed an abortion in Ireland. The number of doctors and the requirement for unanimity will result in lengthy delays which are problematic in pregnancy and will also put far too much pressure on already distressed women. It effectively means that 2 out of 6 doctors would be sufficient to veto an abortion for a pregnant woman. The bills requirement for an obstetrician to be involved in adjudicating on suicide risk is also nonsensical.
The bill requires 1 doctor to assess a woman in case of medical emergency but 3 doctors in the case of suicide which implies that suicide is not considered by this bill to be a medical emergency.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled, in the ABC judgement, that the government as well as giving legislative effect to the X case judgment had to ensure that there was real access to abortion for Irish women. This bill clearly fails to meet this requirement.
The proposal for a 14 year sentence for “intentionally performing or effecting an abortion” is draconian and absurd in the context that just 60 kms away in Holyhead, this is perfectly legal.