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Dublin Declaration’ on reproductive rights presented at Global Women’s Mental Health Conference in Dublin

Published: Wednesday, March 08, 2017

This International Women's Day 2017, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) hosted a special celebration focusing on the rights of women in relation to mental health and wellbeing, which saw the ‘Dublin Declaration’ on reproductive rights unveiled by the International Association on Women’s Mental Health.

The Dublin Declaration was presented at the World Congress on Women’s Mental Health by the President and President Elect of the International Association of Women’s Mental Health on International Women’s Day. This significant declaration calls on all governments to ‘Guarantee that abortion services are available and accessible in a manner that ensures women’s autonomy and decision-making is respected, in line with the best international health practice and in fulfillment of women’s human rights’

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Professor of Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne Australia; and President-Elect International Association of Women's Mental Health said,

“The International Association for Women's Mental Health is proud to present the 'Dublin Declaration". Endorsed by the World Psychiatry Association, the 9-point Declaration affirms the importance of full access to reproductive health rights for women in guaranteeing mental health and wellbeing. The Declaration lists issues that highlight the close connection between restricted reproductive rights and mental ill health in women, The lack of reproductive rights is noted to impact adversely on a woman’s mental health. In situations where a woman or girl has to travel abroad to have an abortion creates further adverse impact on her mental health, with often significant and long lasting ill effect.”

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“This is an important moment for Ireland; the Dublin Declaration is the first of its kind, and it affirms the importance of full access to reproductive health rights for women in guaranteeing mental health and wellbeing. Especially significant is that the Declaration is very clear in noting that States’ failure to provide abortion services creates ‘intense psychological and emotional distress for women.’”

“Ireland is an outlier in Europe in terms of our abortion laws, and the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur is particularly timely, given the Citizen’s Assembly deliberations around changes to the 8th amendment. Ireland must repeal the 8th, and ensure women have access to high-quality healthcare that puts their wellbeing front and centre, and provides the care and support they need.”

Dr. Dainius Pūras, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health said,

“Criminal laws and other legal restrictions on sexual and reproductive health can have a negative impact on women’s right to health. Criminalisation also generates and perpetuates stigma and restricts the woman's ability to make full use of available sexual and reproductive health-care goods, services and information. As a result, women are subjected to poor physical and mental health outcomes.”

“United Nations treaty bodies have stated that, at a minimum, women should have access to abortion services at the very least in cases of risk to their life or health, including mental health, rape, incest and fatal impairment of the foetus. Good practice internationally suggests that women should be able to access safe abortion services on request during the first trimester of pregnancy.”

When: Wednesday, March 8th, 9.30 am to 11.30am
Where: RDS

Speakers will include:
- Marian Keyes, internationally acclaimed Irish author
- Dainius Pūras, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health
- Prof. Veronica O Keane, Trinity College Dublin
- Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of Ireland’s Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.
- Paula Meehan, Poet, former Ireland Chair of Poetry
- Orla O’Connor, Director, National Women’s Council of Ireland


If you are interested in receiving a media pass for any of the events above or organise an interview, please contact Niamh O’Carroll Tel: 087 6286171, or Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer Tel: 085 8619087.