“As Minister of Justice, I tried to introduce legislation to legalise abortion in the narrow area of FFA but I was blocked in the Executive. Meanwhile, the various drafts of guidelines from the Minister of Health created a chill factor, which meant doctors felt threatened with criminal prosecution if they carried out a termination unless there was irrefutable evidence of a threat to the woman’s mental health.
“The fact Dr Gannon now feels she cannot carry out her duties to her patients is a clear demonstration the law must be changed. I do not wish to see so-called ‘abortion on demand’, but I do believe the law should allow compassion to women faced with a dreadful diagnosis who feel they cannot carry a foetus to full term.
“I hope MLAs will now be willing to consider the realities of the situation for a small number of women and allow abortion where two doctors make a clear diagnosis there is no possibility of a viable life.”