06/11/2012 15:44, Minister Varadkar Constituency wrote:
6th November 2012
Dear Ms [Sharrow]
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. You can be sure that I will take your views into account.
As committed to in the Programme for Government, an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, was established in January to study the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the ABC v. Ireland case. In that judgement, the European Court held that the Irish State had failed to legislate to implement existing rights to lawful abortion when a mother’s life is at risk.
Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution states that: “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. “
The interpretation of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution arose in the “X case” in 1992. A majority of the members of the Supreme Court of Ireland held that, if it were established, as a matter of probability, that there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, such a termination was lawful.
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the A, B and C v Ireland case confirmed that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the Court ruled that “no criteria or procedures have been… laid down in Irish law… by which that risk is to be measured or determined, leading to uncertainty…” and held that further legal clarity was required.
In order to address the judgment, and to fulfil a commitment included in the Programme for Government, the Government established an Expert Group, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise, with a view to making recommendations on how this matter should be properly addressed.
The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September with recommendations on a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for expeditious action in light of the ECtHR judgement.
The Government believes that this is the appropriate forum in which to examine this complex and sensitive matter.
When the Group finalises its report later this year the Government will then decide how to proceed.
Leo Varadkar T.D.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
Anyone spot that?
The Expert Group, Chaired by Mr Justice Sean Ryan, will report in September
Ok this is either an old stock reply, as it is now November or else the expert group is not reporting back until September 2013 which is far from expeditious. I have written back asking for clarity on this.
Still no reply from Joan Burton or Patrick Nulty.
IF you have still not Emailed your own TDs you can do, in one go here: