The Oireachtas Health Committee is hosting a review into abortion legislation. It will hear from ‘service users, providers and the public.’
An independent chair is expected to be appointed in the next few months to lead the review.
RTÉ reports that The Minister for Health has said that he does not believe that there is sufficient access to abortion services across the country.
Stephen Donnelly was appearing before the Oireachtas Health Committee as he launched a review into abortion legislation.
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Déise4Life, Dungarvan has submitted the following to the ACP on this topic:
Even pro-choice people should be calling for reform of our abortion legislation
Pro-life people believe that both lives, mother and baby, are precious. Even those who put no value on the baby’s life, however, should take into account that women can be traumatised by their abortion experiences. Both sides, therefore, should agree with what is said in this article.
The vast majority of abortions in Ireland, under our 2018 abortion legislation, are carried out by GPs dispensing abortion pills; these are called medical abortions (as distinct from the abortions performed in hospitals at later stages of pregnancy).
There is a HSE Medical Abortion Consent Form (available online) which is signed by both parties, and which says in plain English that the woman has had explained to her, and fully understands, what is involved in an abortion, including the possible dangers.
But even the most committed pro-choice advocates might start to have doubts about what actually happens in practice, when they read stories currently posted on the Life Institute website (https://thelifeinstitute.net/blog).
Practically no information about each case is officially collected, but there are some ominous signs:
- There were more than 2000 calls to the HSE post-abortion counselling helpline in 2020 alone. That is about one out of every three women who had a medical abortion that year.
- The Irish Family Planning Association, in its 2019 annual report, said that 8% of a sample of their clients that year ended up in hospital after taking the abortion pills. Nationally, that suggest about 500 women a year being hospitalised after taking these pills.
- It has recently been confirmed (parliamentary question from Carol Nolan Independent TD, Laois-Offaly) that there have been 94 abortion-related claims to the State Claims Agency up to the end of October 2021.
- There have been large variations in abortion rates in neighbouring Irish counties – Waterford has considerably higher rates than Wexford, Kilkenny or Tipperary, for example. Are GPs in some counties perhaps doing a better job of listening and counselling than others, and when this happens, are more women changing their minds about proceeding with an abortion?
There is to be an official abortion review at the end of this year. We in Déise4Life are concerned that this will be a mere whitewash job, rather than a real examination, but we intend nevertheless bringing the above facts to the attention of this review. We urge people who share our concerns to do the same, or at least to contact their TDs about it.
A GP is paid €150 for an initial consultation, and a further €300 only if the abortion proceeds – and those, believe it or not, are the existing arrangements. It would be far more sensible, surely, if the initial consultation took place instead with a trained psychotherapist, who would outline all the options, and all the dangers, to the woman, so that she at least makes a truly informed decision.
And it should be blindingly obvious to everyone that the three-day reflection period, in the current legislation, is vitally important and should be retained. Nearly one in five women here in 2020 changed their minds about abortion after the initial consultation. It would be madness to get rid of it.
Going further afield…The Catholic Herald reports:
The birth of the Christ child is an occasion to reflect on other babies and on life in the womb that precedes birth. The most dispiriting development recently in respect of prenatal human life is the European Parliament’s vote last month, directed mainly at Poland, but having far wider implications. Andrew Tettenborn examines its implications elsewhere in this issue. As he says, the parliamentary motion called denying access to abortion “gender-based violence” and contrary to the rule of law. It characterises abortion as a “fundamental human right” that “cannot be subordinated to cultural, religious or political considerations”. It demands that the Polish government legalise abortion and remove all criminal sanctions imposed on it. Then it calls for restrictions on the right of doctors and nurses to refuse to engage in abortions for reasons of conscience. It calls on the European Commission to produce a directive to prevent member states from restricting access to “sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
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