Ireland to act speedily to implement abortion legislation: Minister

Ireland protest

The A, B and C cases are a landmark cases of the European Court of Human Rights on the right to privacy. It held there is no right for women to an abortion, although it found that Ireland had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to provide an accessible and effective procedure by which a woman can have established whether she qualifies for a legal abortion under current Irish law.

The report by the expert group, chaired by Justice Sean Ryan, offers a number of options but legislation and regulations are the preferred choice. It says the Minister for Health should identify at which medical centres an abortion can take place.

The report also calls for the establishment of an appeals process for women who have been refused an abortion to seek a review of the decision.

It suggests terminations on the fringes of viability should take place in medical centres with neonatal care units and be conducted to maximise the changes of foetal survival.

The report reiterates that a woman is only lawfully entitled to an abortion in this state when there is a real and substantial risk to her life and when termination is the only way to avert this risk. Included among the risks is the risk of suicide.

Sinn Fein, a left wing Irish republican political party, Leader Gerry Adams called for the expert group's report to be published.

He said it was not a surprise that "the expert group has a preference for primary legislation (over guidelines or regulations)."

"There does need to be a discussion in the Oireachtas on the report but this cannot be used as an excuse to further delay the introduction of legislation," he added.

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