Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doherty welcomes establishment of expert group to examine abortion issue

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the establishment of an expert group to look at the issues raised by a European Court ruling on abortion. The group has been set up by the Government, and is due to report back within six months.

“The establishment of this group was a commitment in the Programme for Government, and it arises from a European Court of Human Rights ruling dating from December 2010. It found that Ireland had failed to implement existing rights to a lawful abortion where a mother’s life is at risk, established in the Supreme Court X case of 1992.

“This is an issue that goes right to the very heart of the Irish psyche. It is a complex area, both morally and legally, and must be treated with respect and sensitivity. We cannot ignore the European Court ruling, and I am glad that the group has now been set up to look at the issue in a comprehensive manner.

“The expert group, established by the Minister for Health, James Reilly, consists of a range of health and legal professionals who will make recommendations to the Government on how this issue should be handled.

“The Government is also committed to legislate to regulate stem cell research and to clarify the law surrounding assisted human reproduction (AHR). The Department of Health is currently developing policy proposals to regulate these areas. The work involved in developing these proposals will examine and consider - among other things - the issues arising from the frozen embryos Supreme Court judgment.

“We cannot ignore these difficult issues. The Government must comply with its international obligations on human rights, while also taking account of the public mood on this issue. I am hopeful that the report produced by the expert group will help bring clarity to the area.”

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