‘No one should be refused the care they need’

Paula Dennan: Kerry for Choice spokeswoman

THE Kerry for Choice organisation has welcomed this week’s Dáil vote which brings the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill to committee stage but spokesperson, Paula Dennan, reiterated problems with the legislation.

She said it was positive to see the legislation passing to the next stage but the referendum was five months ago and people still continue to travel to access care or risk a jail sentence by taking abortion pills.

“We are concerned that aspects of the legislation, particularly the mandatory three-day waiting period and conscientious objection, will be an impediment to people who need abortion care, especially in rural areas,” Ms Dennan stated.

“There is no evidence that waiting periods are medically necessary or have any impact on a pregnant woman’s decision. What we do know is that they place additional barriers in the way of people living in rural areas or women from lower socio-economic backgrounds by insisting on multiple trips to access abortion services,” she remarked.

The World Health Organistion opposes waiting periods for these reasons and the Kerry for Choice spokeswoman warned that refusal of care on conscience grounds, or conscientious objection, will restrict abortion access.

“We have seen this happen in Italy, where abortion is legal but difficult to access. No one should be refused the care they need. Women living in rural Ireland must have the same access to reproductive healthcare as those living in cities.,” Paula Dennan added.

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