An Irish solution to an Irish problem was supposed to be an artefact of history

Confirmation today that nearly 200 women had to travel to the UK last year for abortion services is evidence that the law needs to be reviewed, according to Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns.

“Most women who needed abortion care were able to access it in Ireland last year – which is extremely positive. However, more work needs to be done to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to care.

“Last year, 194 women could not access care under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 – the law that resulted from the hugely successful Repeal campaign. Most of these women travelled due to complex foetal anomalies that the existing law doesn’t cover.

“Not only did these women face the trauma of their diagnoses, they were also forced to make lonely journeys abroad in the midst of a global pandemic. During the Repeal campaign, the plight of women, in these kinds of desperately sad situations, moved the nation and prompted an outpouring of empathy.

“The law was supposed to ensure that those who received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality, no longer had to endure the trauma of these cruel journeys. However, the law is not fit for purpose in this regard.

“A review of the current legislation is planned for later this year and this should commence as soon as possible – informed by medical and legal experts and with the aim of breaking down unnecessary barriers to care.

“An Irish solution to an Irish problem was supposed to be an artefact of history. Abortion statistics released today, by the UK government, show it is still a reality for nearly 200 women per year. This must change.”

10 June, 2021


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