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NWCI hails Citizens’ Assembly majority vote for abortion with “no restriction as to reasons” as a historic step on the road to women’s equality

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017

As the Citizens’ Assembly voted 64% for abortion to be available with no restriction as to reasons, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) hailed the vote as a historic step on the road to women’s equality, and said that political responsibility and leadership is now needed to provide for abortion in Ireland.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“After campaigning for greater access to abortion for over 30 years, NWCI welcomes this monumental support for profound change. The vote today reflects what we’ve seen in recent polls, and it is clear when fully armed with the relevant facts and when they have had the opportunity to consider them, the Irish public recognises that the eighth amendment does no work and is reflective of an Ireland that we wish to put behind us. The Oireachtas Committee must now take this opportunity to ensure that women’s health and wellbeing is at the heart of their decision making process and we urge the government to call a referendum. The government must place no further delays in doing so and give the people an opportunity to have their say on this.”

She continued,

“NWCI thanks the Citizen’s Assembly members for putting women’s health and experiences at the centre of their discussions. It is critical now that the Oireachtas do the same, at Committee stage and throughout all subsequent debates. We acknowledge the time, effort and dedication that the Citizen’s Assembly put into their deliberations, and welcome the fact there has been an overwhelming recognition that the 8th amendment does not work. The demand for a referendum is resounding.”

Orla O’Connor continued,

“Being able to decide whether you want to have children, when in your life is the best time for you and how many children you would want to have are critical decisions in women’s lives and it is crucial that this is fully supported by the State. In proposing a new way forward we can reimagine how we wish to treat women in pregnancy. We can legislate to provide women with the choice of treatment and supports they need, near their homes, friends and family and in the care of medical professionals who will be able to follow through on any subsequent treatment they may need. For Ireland this requires removing 8th amendment and introducing legislation in line with the vast majority of developed countries around the world. It must involve the removal of all criminal sanctions on women and instead introduce healthcare legislation that mandates compassionate professional services as required.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,

“Providing for early medical abortion on request in Ireland is a means of responding to the evident needs of women, removing the stigma, shame and other burdens of the current system. It would remove cumbersome and unwieldy criminal sanctions against women and medical professionals. It would provide for access to abortion to women in particularly vulnerable positions in a manner that protects their dignity, privacy and bodily autonomy. Where a wanted pregnancy becomes a crisis pregnancy by becoming a risk to her health, or due to a diagnosis of fatal foetal anomaly, provisions should be made for later-term terminations.”


For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087.