I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 100 together.
The main purpose of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 is to restate the general prohibition on abortion in Ireland while regulating access to lawful termination of pregnancy in accordance with the X case and the judgment of the European Court of Human rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case. Its purpose is to confer procedural rights on a woman who believes she has a life-threatening condition, so that she can have certainty as to whether she requires this treatment or not.
The objectives of these procedures are, firstly, to ensure that, where lawful termination of pregnancy is under consideration, the right to life of both the unborn and the mother are respected and afforded protection, in accordance with constitutional requirements, and secondly to ensure that a woman can ascertain by means of a clear process whether she is entitled to medical treatment to which the Act applies.
The purpose of the legislation is not to regulate obstetric procedures which do not constitute termination of pregnancy, or to dictate the practice of obstetrics.
The Department is committed to high quality maternity services and published the first Maternity Strategy earlier this year entitled Creating a Better Future Together.
The strategy sets out the vision for the future of Ireland’s maternity services - one which places women and families at the centre of all services and ensures that they have access to safe, high quality maternity care, in a setting that is most appropriate to their needs.