Review of abortion legislation begins with public consultation

Review of abortion legislation begins with public consultation

A mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin during the 2018 referendum campaign

An independent review of Ireland’s abortion laws has begun with the launch of a public consultation.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act) 2018, introduced after the referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment, specifically provides for a review of the operation of the Act within three years of its commencement.

Health minister Stephen Donnelly today published the terms of reference for the review, which will be led by an independent chair who has not yet been appointed.

As part of the first phase of the review, a public consultation on the operation of the 2018 Act has been launched.

Meanwhile, research into the views and experiences of service users is being carried out by Dr Catherine Conlon, an associate professor at Trinity College Dublin, who is progressing a large qualitative study to analyse unplanned pregnancy and abortion care.

This study, which was commissioned by the HSE’s sexual health and crisis pregnancy programme, will “generate an in-depth understanding of the experiences of women who have accessed abortion care services since the commencement of the Act”, the Department of Health said.

Mr Donnelly said: “I am pleased that we are progressing this important review of an Act that was passed following the result of an historic referendum. We are now specifically seeking people’s views on the operation of the legislation.

“Separate in-depth qualitative research will consider the operation of the Act specifically from the service user and from the service provider perspectives, but service users and service providers are also most welcome to contribute their views through this public consultation process.”

He added: “When the Chair has completed their work in 2022, a final report will be submitted to me with any necessary recommendations. I look forward to hearing people’s views and to the outcome of this review process.”


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