International Safe Abortion Day a reminder of shortcomings in Irish reproductive healthcare

Ivana Bacik TD
28 September 2021

Marking International Safe Abortion Day, Labour TD Ivana Bacik has called on the Government to ensure that the upcoming review of legislation regulating the provision of abortion services allows for access to free, safe, legal and accessible terminations for everyone who needs one.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Today is an opportunity for us to reflect on how better our reproductive healthcare system can serve the people who need to use it. The repeal of the 8th Amendment enabled Ireland to take a significant step forward towards providing a compassionate approach to healthcare in this country, but more remains to be done. On Saturday, I joined others outside Leinster House for the annual Abortion Rights Campaign March for Choice. Speakers at that demonstration spoke of a lack of access to timely abortion in rural areas, among other significant barriers to access.

“Since the passage of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, activists have campaigned for the introduction of a number of measures to improve sexual and reproductive health services. These include the establishment of exclusion zones around healthcare facilities carrying out abortions, to prevent the harassment of women, their partners and healthcare workers; an end to the arbitrary three-day wait period for those seeking an abortion; measures to ensure access for those who receive a complex diagnosis after twelve weeks; and provision of terminations in areas of the country where currently there is none.

“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. The Government should use this day to renew its commitment to improving reproductive healthcare in this country.”

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