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Irish hospitals reminded of 'obligation' to follow new abortion laws

Tánaiste Simon Coveney insisted the law 'is now clear' on abortions in the Republic. Picture by Mark Marlow

IRISH hospitals have been reminded of their "obligation" to make sure decisions on abortions are consistent with the Republic's new laws.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney insisted the law "is now clear" following reports a woman whose unborn child was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality was denied an abortion at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

The woman is reported to be planning to travel to the UK to get a termination.

The case was raised by PBP-Solidarity TDs Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith on Wednesday, when they told the Dail the hospital's board had overruled the recommendation of two doctors.

However, the hospital has denied its board has any role in decisions on abortions.

Mr Coveney said "legislation was passed in a way that was consistent with what the government committed to doing before the referendum last year and it's what people voted for".

"So hospitals in Ireland have an obligation to make decisions in a way that is consistent with that new legislation."

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Junior Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor told Newstalk Breakfast the "full facts" are needed in the case.

"It is a new service, there are new challenges of course around a service such as this," she said.

"But the service is significantly better than what was there on December 31, when women had to leave the country, leave the jurisdiction to travel abroad for a termination of pregnancy - or they had to purchase medication illegally online.

"Nineteen maternity hospitals have signed up to provide this service."

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