Legislation providing for access to abortion services is not enough

Ivana Bacik TD
22 September 2021
  • Information campaign needed on access to abortion
  • Exclusion Zones legislation urgently required
  • Why are women still travelling?

In advance of the March for Choice this weekend, Labour TD Ivana Bacik has said that Government must learn from research conducted by the Abortion Rights Campaign and amend the legislation providing for access to abortion services in Ireland. Calling for a national information campaign on abortion rights, Deputy Bacik said there is work to be done to end the stigma still associated with access to reproductive healthcare in this country.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Repealing the 8th amendment marked a significant step forward for taking a compassionate approach to healthcare in this country, but research published by the Abortion Rights Campaign this week shows the need for a public information campaign to ensure that women have better access to information around obtaining an abortion or other reproductive healthcare.

“Legislation providing for access to abortion services is not enough – we also need to ensure that women know where they can access safe abortion services. We know that women are still having to travel out of Ireland for certain abortion and healthcare services and this research confirms that. We must identify where obstacles to accessing abortion services may still exist, and the Government must ensure that services are adequately resourced so as to make sure that women have access regardless of means or location.

“Since the passage of the new abortion law in 2019, many of us in opposition have been asking the Minister for Health to take action to protect pregnant women, their partners and staff from intimidation as they seek to access abortion services. Exclusion zones restricting gatherings designed to intimidate and obstruct access to abortion services are already in effect in other countries, including parts of Canada, Australia, and the US.Protests outside hospitals and clinics are intimidating for all those seeking to access medical services, for any visitors and for staff seeking access to work. These protests may have the effect of obstructing access to services for pregnant women, many of whom may be in crisis situations.

“Despite the overwhelming vote for repealing the 8th amendment, currently only 10 out of 19 maternity units in this country offer abortion services and only 10% of GPs. Our repeal of the 8th amendment on 25 May 2018 marked a significant step forward for women’s rights in Ireland. However, further change is needed to meet the reproductive healthcare needs of women in Ireland more fully.”

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