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Government should support report by Joint Oireachtas Committee

Published: Sunday, January 14, 2018

As the report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment will be discussed in the Dáil this week, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) has called on the Government to provide the general public with the opportunity to consider the Joint Oireachtas Committee recommendations in full. 

 Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said, 
“As part developing NWCI’s healthcare model Every Woman, we held extensive consultations with people from across the country and from all walks of life. As a result of these consultations, it became clear that many people accept abortion as a necessary element of women's healthcare. They understand that abortion care needs to be one of the options available to all pregnant women and girls in Ireland. They want managed change that will allow complete healthcare for every woman with the support of her doctor. For these reasons they see the need to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution.”
Orla O’Connor continued,
“NWCI believes that the recommendations by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment provide a way forward which is clearly centred on the healthcare needs of women and girls. They have offered us an opportunity for controlled change that people in Ireland will be looking for as part of the upcoming referendum. This includes a restricted period in early pregnancy, where a woman who needs an abortion can access care, strictly within the first 12 weeks, only in the appropriate medical setting, and in close consultation with her doctor. During this period, each woman's reason for ending her pregnancy will be considered and doctor-patient confidentiality will be protected. Permitted reasons for later-stage abortions are strictly limited, and only considered for the purpose of protecting a woman’s mental or physical health or after the diagnosis of a fatal foetal condition.”

She concluded, 
“The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment and the Citizens Assembly showed that members reached their conclusions after carefully reviewing the medical evidence and had the opportunity to discuss and debate all issues. This included the widespread use of the abortion pill in early pregnancy in Ireland without medical supervision, and the need to make the option of an abortion available to women who have become pregnant as a result of rape in a way that protects her safety and dignity.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee has managed to produce a model for the future that acknowledges the realities, concerns and responsibilities of women, girls and families in Ireland.  We call on the Government to support the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.”

NWCI has developed the Every Woman healthcare model for affordable, accessible healthcare options for all women and girls in Ireland. More information about Every Woman is available at: everywoman.nwci.ie


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWCI, Tel. 085 8589104.