Care compassion and choice needed

23 April 2018

Speaking in advance of her public meeting on repealing the 8th amendment on Monday night in Castleknock, former Tánaiste and Labour TD for Dublin West Joan Burton TD has called for care, compassion and choice to be the watchwords of Ireland’s approach to women’s health.

Deputy Burton said:

“We need to repeal the 8th amendment to avoid the continuous repetition of the litany of tragic and sad cases that we are all too familiar with in recent years. Whether that is Savita Halappanavar or a couple affected by a fatal foetal abnormality or a child who has been abused, raped and fallen pregnant.

“That is why I believe that care, compassion and choice must be at the heart of the debate in the coming weeks and at the core of our approach to women’s healthcare.

“When people are suggesting that we retain the 8th amendment what they are saying is that a fourteen year old child who has been abused and become pregnant should be denied access to a termination in Ireland. However its ok for child to travel abroad. Because that in effect is what the no posters are encouraging.

“Abortion happens in Ireland and decisions on abortion are made every day in Ireland but as we know for many the termination occurs in England or Holland.

“This referendum, if passed will allow women to access care at home, with their family there to support them, and their own doctors to help, treat and advise.

“A No vote will continue to force women to travel abroad or else take medication with no support or supervision.

“Some 35 years ago, Mary Robinson said in the immediate aftermath of the 8th Amendment being passed that ‘“Serious difficulties are implicit in the ambiguous and complex wording of this amendment”. Her words have been proven correct.

“Doctors, nurses, midwives and medical staff know how difficult the 8th amendment has made their jobs, especially when there is a danger to the health and life of the mother.

“On the 25th of May, people will be asked to remove the 8th amendment from the constitution and replace it with ‘Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.

“It is really important that women and men come out to vote – to vote for compassion, to vote for care, and to vote for choice. A no vote will not stop abortion but will continue an Irish solution to an Irish problem.

“The mythology that we don’t have abortion in Ireland because it is carried out elsewhere has been ended by the advent of the abortion pill.

“Modern medical technology with the availability of pills through the post to bring on an early miscarriage has completely changed the picture, and means that now and in the future less women will need to travel to England or Holland. It is essential that women taking the abortion pill in Ireland have access to advice and aftercare in the event that something goes wrong.

“I recognise and acknowledge that this is a difficult, personal private issue for many people, couples and families. I want you to use this meeting to ask any questions that you may have of our speakers here tonight.”

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