Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018

Publication Date:January 01, 2018
 
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Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018

2018 31

An Act to provide for and regulate termination of pregnancy; to make provision for reviews at the instigation of a pregnant woman, or a person on her behalf, of certain medical opinions given in respect of pregnancy; to make available without charge certain services to women for the purpose of termination of pregnancy in accordance with this Act and, for that purpose, to amend the Health Act 1970 and certain other enactments; to provide for offences in respect of the intentional ending of the life of a foetus otherwise than in accordance with this Act; to amend the Bail Act 1997; to repeal the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and provisions of certain other enactments; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

[20 December 2018]

Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:

1 Preliminary and General

PART 1

Preliminary and General

S-1 Short title and commencement

1 Short title and commencement

(1) This Act may be cited as the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or provisions, and for the repeal of different enactments or provisions of enactments effected by section 5.

S-2 Definitions

2 Definitions

2. In this Act—

“Act of 2007” means the Medical Practitioners Act 2007;

“Act of 2013” means the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013;

“foetus”, in relation to a pregnancy, means an embryo or a foetus during the period of time commencing after implantation in the uterus of a woman and ending on the complete emergence of the foetus from the body of the woman;

“medical practitioner” means a medical practitioner who is for the time being registered in the register;

“medical procedure” includes the prescribing, by a medical practitioner, of any drug or medical treatment;

“Minister” means the Minister for Health;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made undersection 3;

“register” means the register of medical practitioners established under section 43 of the Act of 2007;

“termination of pregnancy”, in relation to a pregnant woman, means a medical procedure which is intended to end the life of a foetus;

“woman” means a female person of any age.

S-3 Regulations

3 Regulations

(1) The Minister may by regulations provide for any matter referred to in this Act as prescribed or to be prescribed.

(2) Without prejudice to any provision of this Act, regulations under this section may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the regulations.

(3) Every regulation under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the regulation is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House sits after the regulation is laid before it, the regulation shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

S-4 Expenses

4 Expenses

4. The expenses incurred by the Minister in the administration of this Act shall, to such extent as may be sanctioned by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.

S-5 Repeals

5 Repeals

5. The following are repealed:

(a) sections 16 and 17(1) of the Censorship of Publications Act 1929;

(b) sections 7(b) and 9(1)(b) of the Censorship of Publications Act 1946;

(c) section 10 of the Health (Family Planning) Act 1979;

(d) the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995;

(e) the Act of 2013.

S-6 Transitional provisions

6 Transitional provisions

(1) Notwithstanding the repeal of the Act of 2013 by section 5(e)

(a)

a review committee established under section 12 of that Act before the commencement date which, on that date, has not completed a review of a relevant decision within the meaning of that Act shall continue in operation as if it had been established undersection 15 and, for that purpose, sections 16 and 17 shall apply and have effect in relation to the review by the committee, and

(b)

the Health Service Executive shall, in accordance with section 15 of that Act, not later than 6 months after the commencement date, prepare and submit to the Minister a final report on the operation of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of that Act in respect of such period as has not already been the subject of a report to the Minister.

(2) In this section, “commencement date” means the date on which section 5(e) comes into operation.

S-7 Review of operation of Act

7 Review of operation of Act

7. The Minister shall, not later than 3 years after the commencement of this section, carry out a review of the operation of this Act.

2 Termination of pregnancy

PART 2

Termination of pregnancy

S-8 Definitions (Part 2)

8 Definitions (Part 2)

8. In this Part—

“appropriate medical practitioner”, in relation to a medical practitioner and his or her assessment of the risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of a pregnant woman, means a medical practitioner appropriate to the care or treatment of the woman in respect of the risk;

“Executive” means the Health Service Executive;

“health” means physical or mental health;

“medical specialty” means a medical specialty recognised by the Medical Council under section 89 of the Act of 2007;

“obstetrician” means an obstetrician and gynaecologist;

“obstetrician and gynaecologist” means a medical practitioner who is registered in the Specialist Division of the register under the medical specialty of “Obstetrics and Gynaecology”;

“relevant decision” shall be construed in accordance withsection 13;

“relevant specialty”, in relation to a medical practitioner and his or her assessment of the presence of a condition affecting a foetus that is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before, or within 28 days of, birth, means a medical specialty—

(a) in respect of which the medical practitioner is registered in the Specialist Division of the register, and

(b) relevant to the diagnosis, care or treatment of such a condition;

“review”, in relation to a relevant decision, means a review undersection 16;

“review committee”, in relation to a relevant decision, means the committee established undersection 15(1) to review that decision;

“review panel” means the panel established undersection 14(1);

section 9 certification” means a certification referred to in section 9(3) or, as the case may be, a certification pursuant to section 16(2) as to the matters referred to in paragraph (a) of that subsection;

section 10 certification” means a certification referred to in section 10(2);

section 11 certification” means a certification referred to in section 11(3) or, as the case may be, a certification pursuant to section 16(2) as to the matters referred to in paragraph (b) of that subsection;

section 12 certification” means a certification referred to in section 12(2);

“viability” means the point in a pregnancy at which, in the reasonable opinion of a medical practitioner, the foetus is capable of survival outside the uterus without extraordinary life-sustaining measures.

S-9 Risk to life or health

9 Risk to life or health

(1) A termination of pregnancy may be carried out in accordance with this section where 2 medical practitioners, having examined the pregnant woman, are of the reasonable opinion formed in good faith that—

(a)

there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman,

(b)

the foetus has not reached viability, and

(c)

it is appropriate to carry out the termination of pregnancy in order to avert the risk referred to inparagraph (a).

(2) Of the 2 medical practitioners referred to in subsection (1)

(a)

one shall be an obstetrician, and

(b)

the other shall be an appropriate medical practitioner.

(3) A termination of pregnancy shall not be carried out under this section unless each of the medical practitioners referred to in subsection (1) has certified his or her opinion as to the matters referred to in that subsection.

(4) The termination of pregnancy to which the certification referred to in subsection (3)relates shall be carried out—

(a)

by the obstetrician referred to insubsection (2)(a), or

(b)

where the medical practitioner referred to insubsection (2)(b) is also an obstetrician, by that obstetrician or the obstetrician referred to in subsection (2)(a).

S-10 Risk to life or health in emergency

10 Risk to life or health in emergency

(1) Notwithstanding the generality of section 9, or any determination made or pending pursuant to section 16 of an application under section 13(2), a termination of pregnancy may be carried out in accordance with this section by a medical practitioner where, having examined the pregnant woman, he or she is of the reasonable opinion formed in good faith that—

(a)

there is an immediate risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman, and

(b)

it is immediately necessary to carry out the termination of pregnancy in order to avert that risk.

(2) Where a medical practitioner proposes to carry out a termination of pregnancy under this section, he or she shall certify his or her opinion as to the matters referred to in subsection (1)

(a)

before carrying out the termination of pregnancy concerned, or

(b)

where it is not practicable to do so before carrying out the termination of pregnancy, as soon as may be but, in any event, not later than 3 days after the carrying out of the termination of pregnancy concerned.

S-11 Condition likely to lead to death of foetus

11 Condition likely to lead to death of foetus

(1) A termination of pregnancy may be carried out...

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