Draft law requires calm and reasoned assessment – Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the heads of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“The heads of the Bill need to be considered very carefully. We should now proceed calmly and reasonably, based on the wording as published. It will be considered in detail by the Oireachtas Health & Children Committee of which I am a member and I look forward to a constructive engagement there.
“There has been far too much speculation and political posturing prior to the publication of the draft law. This issue is about women’s lives not TDs’ seats.
“In assessing this draft legislation we need to judge it against the five obligations of the State and the four principles for implementation as set out in the Expert Group Report on the ABC case.
“Those five obligations of the State are to provide effective and accessible procedures to establish a woman's right to an abortion as well as access to such treatment; to establish criteria or procedures in legislation or otherwise for measuring or determining the risk to her life; to provide precision as to the criteria by which a doctor is to assess that risk; to set up an efficient independent review and appeals system; and to address sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
“The four principles for the implementation of the European court judgment are that the entitlement to have the right to a lawful termination of pregnancy ascertained should be established; the State's obligations under Article 40.3.3 should be reflected in the options for implementation; termination should be considered a medical treatment regardless of whether the risk to the life of the woman arises on physical or mental health grounds; and it will always be a matter for the patient to decide if she wishes to proceed with a termination following a decision that it is clinically appropriate.”