The Irish government has been praised by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers for its progress on enacting abortion legislation.
The Committee was reviewing progress made since a European Court of Human Rights ruling which found the State to be in breach of its obligations for not legislating for abortion.
In a ruling today they have welcomed the publication of the heads of the Bill on the Protection of Life during Pregnancy saying this is an important step. In a submission to the Ministers the government restated its commitment to having the legislation enacted before the Dail rises for summer recess.
The court says it "noted further that the legislation and regulations outlined in the General Scheme of the Bill should be enacted by the end of July 2013". It adds that it has noted "with satisfaction" the significant progress made on the issue and is encouraging Irish authorities to continue efforts to ensure full compliance with the judgment.
It also has asked to be kept informed of all developments on the Bill.
However the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) criticised the Bill claiming it does not go far enough. It says there is significant work to be done to ensure women’s lives are protected during pregnancy.
The IFPA is also concerned that the proposed Heads of the Bill are "overly complex and may discourage women and doctors from relying on it" because of what they call 'unnecessary barriers and uncertainty'.
In particular the IFPA says it is concerned about the "chilling effect of criminal liability, and that the duty of care is placed on women and doctors".