Women are still travelling for abortion

Senator Annie Hoey image
24 May 2023

Labour Senator and Oireachtas Health Committee member Annie Hoey said it is shameful that five years’ post Repeal, women are still travelling for abortion services.

Senator Hoey said:

“Government must trust the experts and implement changes proposed in Marie O’Shea’s review of Ireland’s abortion law. We know that many women are still travelling for access to services, more than 200 women and girls travelled to Britain for abortions in 2021, an increase compared to 2020. This is not what the electorate voted for in 2018.

“There are many reasons cited for the need to travel, including the restrictive nature of the 12 week rule, which is particularly challenging in the case of women seeking to terminate their pregnancy on medical grounds.

“Huge issues remain around the spread of services nationally. GPs who are providing abortion services often have huge waiting lists, which pushes many women over the 12 week period, forcing travel and making an awful time even more traumatic. GP intervention is extremely important to ensure women have support for any aftercare they may need.

“Research has shown a difficulty for many women due to the lack of GPs providing abortion services outside of the main urban areas. 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.

“For example, girls and women from rural areas are reporting having to make two lonely trips to their local city for abortion appointments. There is no need to make an already vulnerable time even more challenging. We need to see an end to the three-day wait period and trust women and girls.

“Of course, the removal of the three day wait period would significantly reduce the workload for GPs who want to provide abortion care. The review highlights just how unnecessary this ‘reflection’ time is. No one seeks abortion without thinking it through.

“As analysis from IFPA shows us, the overwhelming majority of women who attend their first appointment for abortion care come for their second appointment.

“The paternalistic approach by the Taoiseach to insist that the three day wait period remains in situ is simply not workable.

“No other patient is forced to wait to access the healthcare they need. Compassion in a crisis is what people campaigned on and voted for in 2018. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens cannot row back on their promises to the women of Ireland.”

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