Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (241)

Billy Timmins


241. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the way the new protection of life during pregnancy Bill (details supplied) would have affected the way Savita Halappanavar was treated, in view of the fact the medical assessment of her on the Monday and Tuesday was that there was not a real and substantial threat to her life and in view of the independent expert (details supplied) it was to late too treat her after mid-morning on the Wednesday; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21893/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

While it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the Savita Halappanavar case at this time, I wish to inform the Deputy that the intention of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill is to bring legal clarity to cases where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of a pregnant woman which may only be averted by termination of pregnancy. Head 2 of the Bill aims to set out the law on situations in which termination of pregnancy is permissible where there is a risk of loss of life from physical illness if it is established as a matter of probability that:

- there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother; and

- this risk can only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy.

It is my hope that the Bill will assist medical professionals by clarifying the circumstances in which doctors can intervene where a woman’s life is at risk. It is my hope that the new proposed legislation will save women's lives and protect the unborn and give clarity to medical professionals taking care of their patients.