Proposed changes to abortion law welcome but serious concerns remain regarding lack of access to services
Labour leader Ivana Bacik has welcomed the news that the review into Ireland’s abortion legislation will be making significant proposals for reform of the law, and has urged Minister Donnelly to progress the recommended changes as soon as possible.
Deputy Bacik said that serious concerns remain regarding the lack of availability of services nationwide, pushing girls and women living outside of cities into having to travel long distances to access advice, information and services.
Deputy Bacik said:
“We’ve had to wait five years for the review into Ireland’s abortion services, so it is really welcome to see the news today that the report by Marie O’Shea has been completed and is making important recommendations for legislative change. There’s no time for further delay, Minister Donnelly must prioritise legislating for the much needed changes like the removal of the three day wait period and a more realistic and workable approach to fatal foetal abnormalities.
“Even once these changes are made, I have huge concerns about the lack of availability of services nationwide. Research has shown a difficulty for many women due to the lack of GPs providing abortion services outside of the main urban areas. This is having a serious impact on the provision of abortion nationwide. 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.
“Minister Donnelly needs to reach out to our GPs across the country and encourage as many more as possible to provide this vital healthcare service.
“We are deeply aware of the pressures GPs are under nationwide, but I would urge Minister Donnelly to encourage GPs to help women who come to them seeking abortion services.
“The lack of services throughout the country makes a very difficult and traumatic time even more distressing, with many women in crisis pregnancy reporting having to spend hours on the phone to just find one GP with availability to provide abortion services. We must support girls and women when they are at their most vulnerable. That is what the people voted overwhelmingly for in 2018.”
The Labour Party submission on the abortion review can be accessed at this link: https://labour.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Labour-Party-Submission-on-Abortion-review.30March22.pdf