Minister urged to publish report on abortion changes.
People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith has cautiously welcomed news of changes proposed for Ireland’s abortion laws in a report by Barrister Marie O’Shea and has urged the Health Minister to move swiftly to publish findings of the review. The TD said the review seems to confirm the lived experience of many women she knows who have been badly served by current regulations.
The TD highlighted the three-day waiting period and the lack of any services in many parts of the state needed to be urgently addressed as women were still facing major barriers to abortion access in many parts of the country.
She also noted that the 12-week limit for accessing abortion services without condition needed to be scrapped as many women are still having to travel abroad to access terminations. The National Women’s Council have shown that over 700 women, as of June 2022, have had to travel abroad since abortion legislation was introduced in Ireland.
She said time had come to decriminalise abortion fully and remove the threat over the heads of women and their medical professionals when making decisions.
The TD said it was unconscionable that five years after the Repeal campaign women still had to travel out of their country to avail of basic healthcare provisions, this was an insult and the ongoing mistreatment of cases of fatal foetal abnormality could not be tolerated any longer.
She said: “It is very encouraging that the report from Barrister Marie O’Shea seems to recommend changes to Ireland’s current abortion regime. The 12-week limit for accessing abortion services without condition has to be lifted as women are still travelling in their hundreds since the establishment of abortion services in this country.
“The three-day waiting period must be abolished, and medical practitioners must have the threat of criminalisation removed completely. It is completely unconscionable that five years after the Repeal campaign women still had to travel out of their country to avail of basic healthcare.
“It is essential that the current law around fatal foetal abnormality is changed as the situation and law as it stands is completely wrong.
“Women are being badly served by the deep flaws in the current law. I would urge the Minister to publish this report without any further delay- women in this country have waited too long.”