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    Irish Abortion Bill ‘Flaws’ May Delay Help for Women – Amnesty International

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - A bill passed by the Irish parliament this week to decriminalize abortions is a welcome step but more should be done to clear barriers faced by women seeking timely care, the Amnesty International Ireland executive said.

    "We have some serious concerns that barriers to women accessing timely care remain. And there are some significant flaws," Amnesty International Ireland executive Colm O’Gorman said in a statement.

    He said that the reference to "serious harm" in the bill set a "potentially high and ambiguous threshold" for terminations. This and the lack of a provision that would allow access in cases of pregnancies with severe fetal impairments, as well as mandatory waiting periods could cause delays.

    "We are calling for a commitment from the Minister for Health to make further adjustments to the Act next year if these provisions cause barriers to access or any other barriers to access emerge," O’Gorman said.

    The comment refers to the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which is a presidential signature away from becoming law. It expands the range of cases when abortion is permitted to include fatal fetal abnormality and risk to the mother’s mental or physical health. An earlier law only allowed it when the pregnancy threatened her life.

    READ MORE: Ireland to Overturn Constitutional Blasphemy Ban — Reports

    The bill was introduced to parliament in October after a majority of the Irish voted in a referendum in May to repeal the rigid Eighth Amendment on abortions, adopted 35 years ago. Before that, the Republic of Ireland had a blanket ban on abortions.

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