Press Release: National Maternity Hospital MUST be public and secular to protect reproductive rights, says Abortion Rights Campaign

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) fully supports the Our Maternity Hospital Campaign’s call for a secular National Maternity Hospital built on public land. 

“Despite the Minister for Health’s assurances that his golden share will allow him to intervene if the full range of legal services, including abortion, are not provided at the new National Maternity Hospital, we are not confident that phrases such as ‘clinically appropriate’ and ‘clinically indicated’ which appear throughout the legal documents are enough to guarantee our right to full abortion services,” said ARC Co-Convener Darina Murray.

Poster for the Our Maternity Hospital rally outside Leinster House on Saturday, May 14th. The text reads
Make Our National Maternity Hospital 
Public and Secular 
Our Bodies Our Choices Our Rights Our Hospital 
Saturday 14th May
2pm - Rally at the Dáil

Ms Murray continued, “Abortion is legal on request up to 12 weeks and in limited circumstances after 12 weeks. People seeking an abortion between 9 and 12 weeks are referred to a hospital instead of a GP. Does simply requesting an abortion meet the definition of ‘clinically appropriate’? Will abortion only be available if there is a risk to the life or health of the pregnant person?”

“We need answers to these questions before we lock ourselves into a 299-year lease with a private company, St Vincent’s Holdings Group, which shares the same values as the religious congregation that established it. These values currently prevent St Vincent’s Healthcare Group from providing the full range of reproductive services.” 

“No one denies that we are in desperate need of a new National Maternity Hospital, but it must not come at the cost of our reproductive freedom. Reproductive freedom includes providing a full range of reproductive healthcare services; contraception, tubal ligations, vasectomies, fertility treatments, abortions, and gender-affirming care.” 

“We must safeguard services for future generations. What if a future Minister for Health is against abortion? ARC supports a rights-based approach to healthcare as recommended by HIQA and where the values of the pregnant person decide their care.”

“If the government cannot guarantee that our reproductive rights will be protected, and nothing we have heard comes close to being a guarantee, then the government must look for the land to be gifted to the State. They say this deal is public ownership, so why not make it public ownership under the law? We have spent too long extricating ourselves from the control of the Catholic Church to sleepwalk into a deal that hands them control of our National Maternity Hospital for decades to come.” Ms Murray concluded.

We are sponsoring 10 train tickets for those who want to attend the protest from across Ireland. If you are interested please DM us on social media or email [email protected] for details.