Oireachtas Health Committee is the most appropriate forum to analyse review group’s report on abortion services

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has described comments by the Taoiseach on the review group’s report on abortion services as deeply unhelpful.

“The health and wellbeing of women must be front and centre of any recommendations to make legislative or operational changes to abortion services in Ireland. It was a most inappropriate intervention by Mr Varadkar to publicly state that he is uncomfortable with making any major changes to abortion legislation. This is despite the fact that the review group’s report has yet to be brought to Cabinet.

“While the removal of the Eighth Amendment in 2018 was welcome, there have been flaws in how the State’s new abortion laws have worked in practice. Some of the problems relate to unequal access for women, with many GP clinics and hospitals still not offering full abortion services.

“Other restrictive aspects of the law include the paternalistic three-day waiting period. It is also unacceptable that some women with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, who wish to terminate their pregnancy, are still compelled to travel abroad. This simply compounds their suffering and trauma.

“Once published, the review group’s report should be referred to the Oireachtas Health Committee for analysis, which I believe is the most appropriate forum for advancing any necessary changes to abortion services.”

April 21, 2023

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