Irish public continue to be deceived, while the Government stalls yet again

Irish public continue to be deceived, while the Government stalls yet again

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) condemns the ongoing delay in regulating rogue crisis pregnancy agencies. Minister for Health Simon Harris stated today that he will not introduce measures to stop anti-abortion groups giving misleading information to women before the Dáil summer break.

Speaking on Thursday, ARC spokesperson Clare Lanigan said, “Minister Harris committed to passing legislation before the summer to add crisis pregnancy counsellors to a list of regulated health professionals. It is now the end of June and the draft legislation has yet to surface. Every day of delay means more women are lied to and misled by rogue crisis pregnancy centres, which continue to operate with impunity. With all this in mind, it’s hard to  believe today’s promise that legislation will be ready by September.”

Ms Lanigan continued, “Minister Harris has already acknowledged that the women accessing these services are ‘in a very vulnerable position’ and he appears to understand the danger of the, in his words, ‘nonsense, mistruths and disgusting things’ being presented by these centres. Yet, his decision to delay legislation until after the summer recess has left countless women open to similarly ‘despicable’ treatment. It is outrageous and unethical to have identified such a serious failing in our crisis pregnancy services and continue to fail to enact legislation that could prevent further suffering.”

Today’s publication of Justice Laffoy’s report shows clearly that the Citizens’ Assembly have called for a complete overhaul of how the Irish State deals with crisis pregnancies. Ancillary recommendations in the report state: “Improvements should be made to counselling and support facilities for pregnant women both during pregnancy and, if necessary, following a termination of pregnancy, throughout the country.”

ARC spokesperson Linda Kavanagh said, “Delays like this show the government have little intention of adhering to their own mechanism. How long will the government continue its delay tactics?”

“In a month that has seen reports of minors and immigrants denied abortion access they were entitled to under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, it is unconscionable that Minister Harris and the current government continue to abide more vulnerable women being lied to. When will the lives of women, especially the most vulnerable, become a priority?”

Ms Lanigan concluded, “Vulnerable women are being deceived and delayed while the Government chooses to look the other way. Now that a qualified medical doctor is leading the Government, we would expect that so serious a matter as the deliberate spread of medical misinformation would be addressed as a priority by the Minister for Health. Where abortions are legal and accessible, they are 15 times safer than continuing a pregnancy to full term. The people of Ireland deserve truth and transparency, not deception. They also deserve the full range of reproductive choices including the option of free, safe and legal access to abortion.”