Letter to minister outlines care barriers

Paula Dennan: Kerry for Choice spokeswoman

THE Kerry for Choice joined 33 pro-choice groups from around the country to sign an open letter to Health Minister, Simon Harris, to voice concerns that people are being left behind by the abortion legislation.

The Abortion Rights Campaign claimed that rural abortion provision is sparse ad legislation has not been translated into action. Some counties have no GPs signed up to the service and other counties have limited provision, as many GPs only provide care to their current patients.

The campaigners said people living in rural areas where public transport is limited are being forced to travel long distances to access care and those requiring hospital care are being referred to larger, city-based maternity units.

“This is not what we marched for and it is not what we voted for. People deserve timely abortion care that reflects evidence-based clinical practice, where they live,” the letter states.

The campaigners said the mandatory three-day waiting period, necessitating two visits to an abortion provider, is a significant barrier for pregnant people in rural areas who already have to travel long distances to access care”.

Kerry for Choice spokesperson Paula Dennan said: “We signed the letter because we have always campaigned for abortion services that are free, safe, legal and accessible locally for everyone who needs them”.

She added: “Rural access to abortion is vital and while we are pleased to see the number of GPs becoming abortion providers increasing, there are still gaps in abortion care, which place additional barriers in the way of people living in rural areas, migrant women, those living in direct provision, women living with disabilities and working class women.”

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