Agence France-Presse

Ireland: Health minister denies rumor that women seeking abortions will be required to see six doctors

Demonstrators hold placards and candles in memory of Savita Halappanavar during a march to Irish Parliament in Dublin on November 17, 2012. Ireland's tough abortion laws came under fire following the death of the Indian woman after doctors allegedly refused her a termination because it was against the laws of the Catholic country and they could hear a fetal heartbeat.



Ireland's health minister has denied reports that some women seeking abortions will be required to visit six doctors under a new law. The apparent rumor erupted as Ireland is struggling to reform its strict anti-abortion laws. Currently, a woman can only have a legal abortion in Ireland if her life is in danger.

Last weekend,  Irish media reported  that a proposed law would put pregnant women who are suicidal through a tough evaluation process. According to the reports, suicidal pregnant women would have to be evaluated by a team of two obstetricians and four psychiatrists before an abortion could be allowed.

Psychiatrists had warned that such a plan is "idiotic," the Irish independent reported.

More from GlobalPost: Savita Halappanavar protest march calls for review of Ireland's abortion laws.

However, Ireland Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly says that it was “never going to be the case” that suicidal women would be forced to go through an abortion panel. "With respect, I think that some people may have formed the wrong impression. The heads of the bill [its general principles] are not finalized - they are still in process," he told reporters.

"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," he added.

There have been deep divides between Ireland's lawmakers over proposed abortion laws, the Irish Times reported

The potential reforms come after Savita Halappanavar died last October, four days after suffering a miscarriage. Her family says that before she died doctors refused to give her an abortion. 

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