Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (496)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

496. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health when a general scheme of a Bill will be prepared to legislate for safe access zones around health facilities which provide access to termination of pregnancies. [44485/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is my absolute intention that people can access termination of pregnancy services safely. I wish to assure women and healthcare staff that there is existing legislation in place to protect them and to protect patients.

My Department and An Garda Síochána have been closely monitoring the situation since termination of pregnancy services commenced in January this year, and I have met with the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána on this issue.

As the Deputy is aware, I also met with Oireachtas members to discuss safe access as a matter of priority. A targeted consultation of health service providers is under way, following which I will meet with a representative group of service providers from the HSE. I plan to meet with the Oireachtas members again to provide a further update.

The result of the referendum last year gave the Government a strong mandate to introduce termination of pregnancy services and it remains my priority that the legislation is fully implemented so that all women in Ireland can access these services quickly and easily, without bias or judgment.