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Legal clarity needed from Health Minister on draft guidance - McLaughlin

17 October, 2013 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin has called on the Health MinisterEdwin Poots to clarify, as a matter of urgency, whether or not his draft guidance on termination of pregnancy has been properly legally proofed.

Ms McLaughlin said:

“This morning’s statement by the DPPBarra McGroryhas cast doubt on the legal basis for some of the assertions within the guidance. The question now arises as to whether or not this guidance has been fully and properly legally proofed.

“As Chairperson of the Health Committee I intend seeking a meeting with both the Health Minister and the DPP to bring clarity to the matter.

“I will also be requesting that the Health Minister come before the Health Committee to discuss this matter and related issues and that Mr Poots makes available to the Committee the advice he received from departmental officials including departmental solicitors on these matters.

“There is an urgent need for clarity around whether or not cases of fatal foetal abnormality can be accommodated within the existing legal framework and whether or not the guidance reflects this.

“These are clearly exceptional and traumatic circumstances and the families affected and the healthcare clinicians who are dealing with them, require and are entitled to immediate clarification.”

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