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NWCI raises concerns around safe and local access to abortion care services

Published: Monday, June 24, 2019

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today raised concerns about the ongoing delay to the introduction of safety zone legislation, as well as the lack of abortion care services in St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny.

Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator at NWCI said,

“NWCI is very concerned at further delays to safety zone legislation, which is urgently required, in order to prevent women being confronted or intimidated when accessing a legal healthcare service. The Minister for Health Simon Harris has previously committed to the introduction of this legislation in early 2019. It is vital that the Government outlines a clear roadmap for women as to when this legislation will be in place. The urgent passage of this legislation will protect both women and their doctors, ending demonstrations near hospitals or primary care centres where abortions are being provided, and show a zero tolerance approach to any attempts to coerce and intimidate women.”

“We have already seen some protests in Irish healthcare facilities. The Irish public voted for abortion care to be provided in Ireland, and this must be like access to any other healthcare procedure. In order to ensure this, we must have the legislative framework in place to protect women and to support the providers of this necessary care.”

Dr Cliona Loughnane added,

“NWCI is also concerned about the lack of abortion service provision in St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny, and local services for women in the south east of the country. The letter sent to HSE management by four obstetricians St Luke’s states that ‘it has been decided unanimously that the hospital is not an appropriate location for medical or surgical abortions…’. This shows blatant disregard for the health of women and the overwhelming will of the Irish people that abortion care is a normal part of reproductive healthcare services. Women were promised that no institutional conscientious objection would be allowed. Women require access to safe and local abortion services; the health services must urgently clarify how they will ensure abortion services are provided across all of the country’s maternity units.”

For more information about abortion care and providers from the HSE, visit www.myoptions.ie Freephone 1800 828 010

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 0858619087.