- 31 May 23
Abortion access remains obstructed across the country, and it is hoped the Health Committee will improve accessibility and convenience.
An Oireachtas Health Committee heard that there is no medical or legal reason for the mandatory three-day wait period for an abortion, and that the measure is causing anxiety and distress to women.
Barrister Marie O'Shea, who carried out an independent review of Ireland's termination laws, told the Committee hearing her findings today. O'Shea recommended that the wait period should be optional.
The Oireachtas Health Committee is currently examining whether the current laws need to be changed - five years on from when the Repeal referendum gave TDs and Senators the power to make laws.
Abortion Rights pointed out on Twitter that the World Health Organisation previously said the practice demeans women and puts their safety at risk.
The 3-day wait is nothing more than paternalistic nonsense, which the WHO states “can jeopardise women’s ability to access safe, legal abortion services and demean women as competent decision-makers.”
Use the @NWCI e-action tool to email your TDs 👉 https://t.co/nNdeBgXPA5 pic.twitter.com/kVaijVgagc
— Abortion Rights IE (@freesafelegal) May 29, 2023
The independent review of the Operation of the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act was established in December 2021 aimed to assess the extent to which the objectives of the abortion bill have and have not been achieved.
Barrister Dr Marie O'Shea, author of the report, told the committee she had confirmed that there was no legal or medical reason for the inclusion of the mandatory reflection period.
Dr. O'Shea said she understood that the three-day wait was included so that women would not make a mistake that they would later regret, but her findings were that women universally said that they did not benefit from the reflection period.
In light of the government's 'Abortion Review' of abortion legislation following the 5th anniversary of Repeal, organisations such as The National Women's Council have found the country's access to abortion remains obstructed, with barriers including the 3-day waiting period, 12 week cut off point and lack of local services.
The committee also heard from Dr. O'Shea that some women are "timing out" of the 12-week cut off time for accessing a termination because of public holidays and Christmas periods, which can "exacerbate the problem".
The reports being discussed in the Health Committee show a need for widespread reexamination of abortion framework across the country. The National Women's Council has urged the public to write to their local politicians demanding action for those denied access to abortions.
🧵Five years on from Repeal, women are still denied access to abortion in Ireland.
Today we're calling on people to to write to your local politicians and demand action on systemic barriers to #abortionaccess.https://t.co/xfwqd7uNWy pic.twitter.com/aMsjTagFZ4
— Womenscouncilireland (@NWCI) May 24, 2023