It was recently reported in the Irish Times that the Minister for Health has now received the report of the three-year review. However, he has stated its findings will not be published until mid-April. This is a significant setback, considering the Minister initially claimed the report would be made available “no later than 7 February 2023 for consideration.”
Minister Donnelly then changed his tune, claiming in mid-February the report would be received by the end of the month. He seemingly only received the report in mid-March, and has long fingered its publication until mid-April. While these significant delays have drawn the ire of abortion campaigners, they suggest that it is not all clear sailing in the Department of Health on this issue.
It was reported that the government will find it difficult to introduce any legislative changes to the current Act, due to the wide acknowledgement that the 2018 referendum was largely carried on the basis of a proposed pre-referendum abortion bill, which included “concessions” such as the three-day period for reflection and the limitation of unrestricted abortion to 12 weeks. Changing any of these aspects of the law would require amending legislation, and would essentially break promises made at the time of the referendum.
The Pro Life Campaign has engaged with the review process insofar as to ensure the government knows that pro-life opinion matters and should be listened to. While there have been many criticisms of the review process, it is important that the pro-life side continues to engage and track these developments and not allow one pro-abortion narrative to drown out other voices.