Chair of abortion law review to be appointed this month

A person to chair the review of the operation of Ireland’s liberal abortion law will be appointed before the end of the month, the Irish Times has reported.

A public consultation is already underway for organisations, stakeholders, members of the public and advocacy groups working in the area to give their views on the operation of the legislation.

Separately, a request for tender for a chair to carry out research into the views of service providers was published last December. The chair will provide conclusions and recommendations on the legislation to the Minister by the summer or autumn.

While the review will not be given prescriptive questions around issues like the three-day waiting period for women to access abortion, the review will examine whatever issues are raised by stakeholders. This means changes to the law could be made if the review recommends them and if the Government accepts those recommendations.

It is likely that the final report from the chair of the review will be at first given to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, who will then bring the recommendations to his Cabinet colleagues.

Mr Donnelly may then decide to refer the report to an Oireachtas committee and make seek the view of the wider Oireachtas before proceeding with any recommendations, although no final decision has been made on this yet.