Irish cabinet reaches agreement on abortion bill

The thorny issue of abortion is once more back at the top of the political agenda in Ireland The thorny issue of abortion is once more back at the top of the political agenda in Ireland

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The Irish cabinet has reached agreement on a controversial bill on abortion that will include the credible threat of suicide as grounds for a termination.

The details of the legislation are expected to be published later.

A meeting of cabinet ministers resumed on Tuesday evening.

This followed an earlier adjournment to allow the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to attend a jobs announcement and leaders' questions.

Mr Kenny has denied there are problems at cabinet with the legislation.

It is believed that three consultants will be required to review a case and all must agree for a termination to proceed.

A provision for appeal to three other doctors will be included if it is not approved, but that panel must also be unanimous for a termination to be allowed.

At present, at least 11 women leave the Irish Republic every day for an abortion in Britain.

Earlier this month, the Irish health minister said pregnant women who feel suicidal would not have to face six doctors.

It followed reports that planned abortion legislation would contain that measure.

James Reilly denied this was part of draft legislation to amend abortion laws.

Irish law prevents abortion unless there is a risk to the life, rather than the health, of the mother.

New laws were promised following the death of Savita Halappanavar last October.

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