Bacik demands removal of three-day abortion wait period
In advance of the march to remember Savita Halappanavar, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said that urgent changes are needed to Ireland’s abortion laws.
Deputy Bacik said:
“10 years on from her tragic death, we will all remember Savita Halappanavar this weekend. Savita’s death tragically highlighted the need for repeal of the Eighth Amendment and the introduction of legal abortion in Ireland. Despite the vote to repeal the Amendment in 2018 and the introduction of the Abortion Act, there is still much work to be done to ensure that women have full access to reproductive health services and care.
“The Labour Party is concerned that some regional hospitals with maternity units are failing to provide abortion care services. We know that there are 13 counties in which less than 10 GPs provide abortion care, and we are aware that many counties have no GPs providing services.
“Crucially, we must see the three-day waiting period repealed. It disproportionately affects abortion access for those who live outside of urban areas, in places where there are limited or no abortion providers, and who are financially or socially vulnerable.
“The 12-week limit must also be extended and this must be coupled with an amended definition of a condition likely to lead to the death of a foetus. This provision is unduly restrictive and imposes an arbitrary time period upon doctors’ capacity to diagnose fatal foetal conditions.
“The effect of the provision has been that, as research published by the National Women’s Council and TFMR has shown, women and couples have had to continue to travel outside the country, often in the most difficult of personal circumstances after a heart-breaking medical diagnosis, to end their pregnancies.
“We need to see the reform and amendment of the 2018 Act and of reproductive healthcare policies, to ensure that the needs of women who require improved access to abortion services are addressed; and that the barriers to access identified are removed. Only through this process can women’s right to access abortion services be truly vindicated.”