Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Questions (970)

Mick Barry


970. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Health the measures he will take to urgently ensure that all those facing diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormality will not have to travel to access a termination of the pregnancy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16696/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Section 11 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 sets out the law in Ireland on access to termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a condition present affecting the foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus before or within 28 days of birth. It requires the involvement of two medical practitioners, one of whom must be an obstetrician and the other a medical practitioner of a relevant specialty. Both must examine the pregnant woman and both must certify their reasonable opinion, formed in good faith that the termination of pregnancy can be carried out. The termination of pregnancy must then be carried out by the certifying obstetrician, or in cases where the second certifying doctor is also an obstetrician, either one may carry out the procedure.

The provisions in the 2018 Act reflect the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, published in December 2017.

The operation of the legislation is a matter for attending clinicians. The appropriate medical body, the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Obstetricians based in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, has published Clinical Guidance on Termination of Pregnancy in a number of scenarios, including the Pathway for Management of Fatal Fetal Abnormalities and/or Life-Limiting Conditions Diagnosed During Pregnancy .

Services for termination of pregnancy under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 have continued to function during the COVID-19 pandemic.