No six-doctor check on women - Reilly

Health Minister James Reilly has denied that his proposed abortion legislation will require suicidal women to be assessed by six consultants to ascertain whether a termination is needed to potentially save their lives.

Dr Reilly said draft abortion legislation will come before the Cabinet tomorrow.

It had been reported over the weekend that assessment of suicide risk in relation to abortion would have to be carried out out by six specialist doctors, including four psychiatrists, under the legislation.

"It is not the case nor was it ever going to be the case that a woman who is in a distressed state with suicidal ideation would be subjected to an interview by six different medical people either simultaneously or individually. That was never going to be the case," Dr Reilly stressed today.

He said he wanted to reassure to reassure people that there would be no question of a woman who is in distress with suicidal ideation "being put through the sort of interviewing process I think that we have heard about on the television and the radio in the last couple of days.”

The reported plan to have six doctors assess women within suicidal ideation had been widely criticised as unworkable.

Perinatal psychiatrist Dr Anthony McCarthy said the idea of bringing a woman who was seriously distressed and depressed in pregnancy and with suicidal ideation to a forum where she would be questioned by six different doctors was 'abusive'. He stressed that a very small group of women would be suicidal and want an abortion.

The drafting of abortion legislation is reported to be causing tensions between the two Government parties.

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