Disagreement on including suicide in abortion legislation

Committee to hear 3 days of hearings on the issue

Psychiatrists appearing before the Oireachtas Health Committee are differing on whether suicide should be included as a risk to the life of a woman in abortion legislation.

They have all agreed that suicide in pregnancy is rare - but it does happen.

They were giving evidence on the first day of hearings into the government's decision to legislate for abortion.

Figures from the UK show that in 3 years between 2006 and 2008 there were 4 suicides in 2 million pregnancies.

Professor Patricia Casey from UCD and the Mater Hospital does not believe the suicide threat should be legislated for.

Earlier the Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital Sam Coulter Smith said 6 pregnancies were terminated at the hospital last year in order to save the life of the mother.

The Master of the National Maternity Hospital Dr. Rhona Mahony told the committee legislating for abortion where there is a threat of suicide will not open the floodgates to widespread terminations.

Newstalk's Political Correspondent Páraic Gallagher reports from Leinster House.

Dr. Mary McCaffrey from Kerry Hospital also spoke at Government Buildings today following her presentation to The Oireachtas Committee.

She said the mother's life will always be protected.