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Historic legislation for women’s equality

Published: Thursday, October 04, 2018

Historic legislation for women’s equality

NWCI calls for abortion legislation to ensure access to care for women

Press Release, 4 October 2018

As the Oireachtas starts debating the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) called on legislators to ensure the final legislation ensures access to care for women and to include a preamble reminding future generations of the importance of the legislation and its historic significance.


Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said ‘People clearly understand that abortion care is a private and personal matter for women in consultation with their doctors. We must ensure the legislation enables medical decision-making in the best interests of women. Doctors must be empowered to feel confident in their interpretation and application of any new abortion law, so that they do not adopt needlessly cautious interpretations of provisions.’

Refusal of care (‘conscientious objection’)

She continued, ‘A key issue is ensuring that refusals of care (conscientious objection) do not create a barrier to women seeking care. No woman should be faced with the refusal of lawful abortion care. The legislation should specify within what timeframe referral has to be made. To protect women, there needs to be a mechanism in the law to monitor whether women are being referred appropriately.  The legislation must make clear that objections cannot apply to institutions. ’

Three day waiting period

‘We must ensure that barriers to care are not created for women who due to rural location, domestic abuse, disability or other reasons may have difficulty accessing multiple appointments. This is why the start of the suggested 3-day waiting period should be triggered at initial contact with a healthcare provider rather than at the time of the first appointment.’


Orla O’Connor continued ‘NWCI would like to see an inclusion of a preamble to the Bill which would serve as a reminder to future generations of the historic significance of the law and the way change was achieved. It would acknowledge Ireland’s past restrictive abortion laws and the legacy of how women have been treated in Ireland.’

Orla O’Connor concluded, ‘The Oireachtas has a resounding mandate from the Irish public. People voted Yes on May 25th for change and we need a swift delivery of that emphatic call for access to abortion care here in Ireland.’

Read NWCI’s Response to the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill https://www.nwci.ie/index.php/learn/publication/response_to_the_health_regulation_of_termination_of_pregnancy_bill


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie