Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 08 October, 1998

Written Answers. - Green Paper on Abortion.

70. Ms McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of occasions the Cabinet committee preparing the Green Paper on abortion has met; when it is expected that the Green Paper will be published having regard to his earlier statements that it would be published during summer 1998; the latest figures available to him on the numbers of Irish women having terminations in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18843/98]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The Cabinet committee established to oversee the preparation of a Green Paper on abortion has met on two occasions. Work on the drafting of the Green Paper is proceeding. When the drafting [1588] has been completed I intend convening another meeting of the Cabinet committee, when they will commence consideration of the draft. Publication of the Green Paper must await a final decision of the Government in due course. I acknowledge that the process is taking longer than expected but I would point out that any dates given by me are at all times indicative, pending final approval by Government.

Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics, London, indicate that 5,336 women resident in Ireland had legal abortions carried out in England and Wales in 1997. The latest quarterly figures available are in respect of the quarter ended on 31 March 1998 and these indicate that 1,458 women resident in Ireland had legal abortions carried out in England and Wales.