Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (789)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

789. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the status of plans to provide free access to termination of pregnancy services for women from Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13499/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Under the Health Act 1970, eligibility for public health services is based on a person being ordinarily resident in the State. This is the bedrock upon which our eligibility system for health services, and indeed many other public services, is founded. The necessary provisions were made in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 to enable universal access for women living in the State to the services in question without charge. Women who live in Northern Ireland can access termination services in this jurisdiction but would, in effect, be doing so as private patients and would be subject to charges in this regard.

Any proposal to facilitate access without charge to termination-of-pregnancy services to women from Northern Ireland raises a number of legal and policy issues and therefore requires detailed examination. My Department intends therefore to undertake an examination of these issues, in conjunction with the Attorney General and other Government colleagues as necessary.