Three years have passed since the Repeal referendum when the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly for abortion care to be provided at home in Ireland. We know many women and pregnant people still can’t access abortion care at home due to restrictions in the current legislation and barriers to access.
In 2021, we will have a precious chance to tackle these obstacles and improve abortion access through the upcoming Review of the Legislation. This is a unique and essential opportunity to achieve better care for women and pregnant people .
- At least one woman or pregnant person a day is travelling to the UK for an abortion according to the latest available figures from 2019. The majority of these abortions are later term abortions.
- Only 1 in 10 GPs are providing abortion services in Ireland. Although GPs who provide early medical abortions are very committed, coverage remains a significant barrier to accessing abortion.
- Only just over half of maternity hospitals provide abortion services.
- Women in rural areas and from marginalised backgrounds face extra challenges in accessing abortion care.
- Access also remains particularly difficult for women and pregnant people facing the devastating news that their baby has a severe or fatal foetal anomaly.
Here is what we are campaigning for:
- Review the 12-week limit and extend it into the second trimester: Abortion care, like all aspects of health care, should be decided in the context of a trusting and supportive doctor-patient relationship, whereby medical needs are met in line with clinical best practice and patient preferences.
- Remove obligatory 3-day wait: There is no medical purpose or value to the three-day waiting period. This restriction impedes doctors’ abilities to provide urgent care when required while also placing additional stress on women.
- Remove 28-day limit: All women with a diagnosis of severe or fatal foetal anomaly should be guaranteed compassionate care in their own country.
- Recognise abortion as a central aspect of healthcare and end the criminalisation of doctors: Abortion is recognised as an essential aspect of healthcare by the World Health Organisation. The criminalisation of healthcare in Ireland has a ‘chilling effect’ and undermines doctor’s clinical judgement and professional expertise.
- Broaden coverage: Access to nationwide coverage of abortion services in primary care and maternity hospitals settings must be prioritised by the HSE.
- Introduce Safe Access Zones: Ensure that all those receiving and providing abortion care are protected from harassment and abuse.
- Contraception and Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE): To realise the reproductive and sexual health rights of all, universal access to contraception and the development of a modern RSE curriculum must be addressed.
- An independent, external review of the legislation: Ireland’s abortion legislation is currently being reviewed. We want to see an external review that is independent, women-centred, transparent and inclusive.
'Accessing Abortion in Ireland: Meeting the Needs of Every Woman' research paper
Read more about the experiences of women, pregnant people and service providers in our research report Accessing Abortion in Ireland: Meeting the Needs of Every Woman which outlines our key recommendations for policy and legal changes.
Will you support our #AbortionAccess campaign?
This is our moment to further stand with women and pregnant people and ensure that at this critical time for reproductive health and rights in Ireland, their voices and experiences are central to the provision of abortion care.
Donate to us so that no more women suffer while trying to access the services they need. We need to raise at least € 5,000 by the end of June 2021 to be ready to fight for what women and pregnant people need.
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For anyone affected by the issues discussed, there is information and support at myoptions.ie