Shocking step backwards for women’s rights

Ivana Bacik TD
24 June 2022

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has expressed grave concern and dismay at the decision of the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. In a week where we learned that over 200 women travelled to Britain from Ireland seeking abortion, Bacik said that this represented a shocking step backwards for women’s rights in the US; and that in an Irish context, the forthcoming abortion review must protect women’s right to choose as voted for by the Irish people.

Deputy Bacik said:

“I am shocked and saddened at the news coming from the US today and I want to express my solidarity with all the women and girls who will be so severely impacted by this horrific step back for women’s rights. The landmark Roe v Wade decision had a positive and transforming impact on women’s access to reproductive healthcare in the US; and the overturning of that decision today by the Supreme Court is likely to have a deeply negative effect, to the point where we may see the lives and health of many pregnant women endangered as a result. 

“We know from the Irish experience that restricting access to abortion does not prevent crisis pregnancy, but rather it compounds the crisis for women; and we also know from our own experience that constitutional restrictions on access to safe legal abortion can cause serious risks to women’s lives and health.

“Indeed, the Constitution is no place to regulate a complex and sensitive matter like abortion. Today’s US decision reminds us of the unfortunate reality that progress made on women’s rights can be overturned.

“This week, figures showed that over 200 women travelled from Ireland to Britain to obtain abortions. Every woman who must take that lonely journey represents a failure to deliver on the mandate given to the Government by 66.4% of the electorate in 2018. With the abortion review ongoing, we need to ensure effective access to abortion here in Ireland for those women who need it.

“The effect of today’s Supreme Court decision will be devastating. It will not prevent abortions, but is likely to cause real risk to women’s health in the US. As we conclude the review of abortion law here, we must strengthen our own commitment to improving reproductive healthcare for women in this country.”

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