Press release: Review commencement welcomed so that more abortions can happen in Ireland

The Abortion Rights Campaign welcome the news that the review of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 has started. 

However, as Ireland’s largest grassroots abortion rights organisation, we are seeking assurances that the review will be a transparent and open process, allowing the perspectives of those most affected by this legislation to be centred. “It is essential that those who have accessed the service are heard – and, just as importantly – those who have been denied the abortion care we have fought so hard for” said JoAnne Neary, co-convenor of the Abortion Rights Campaign. 

Helen Stonehouse, co-convenor of the Abortion Rights Campaign added “The people of Ireland will no longer tolerate essential discussions about our health and rights being held behind closed doors. As we have seen all too frequently, with tribunals and commissions, a lack of accountability can lead to the denial of rights.” 

JoAnne continued “A clear timeline and The Terms of Reference for the review of the Act are vital. Ireland voted overwhelmingly for abortion access in Ireland so this cannot be a relitigation of the referendum that passed by more than 66% in 2018.”  

The Abortion Rights Campaign have already begun our work to ensure that no one who needs or wants an abortion in Ireland is left behind. Our demands include:

  • Safe abortion care. We cannot tolerate medically unnecessary waiting periods, arbitrary gestational limits, or medically ambiguous legal constraints
  • Abortion must be legal. This means fully decriminalising abortion, removing the criminal penalties on doctors, and gender-inclusive legislation. 
  • Abortion care must be available locally. Access must be available in every county, and in all our maternity hospitals. We cannot continue sending those who fall outside the boundaries of our legislation overseas.
  • Abortion care must be free. Those without PPS numbers, including migrants and people from Northern Ireland, should be able to access abortion without cost and without fear of deportation.

The Abortion Rights Campaign was founded on the principles that free, safe and legal abortion should be available for anyone who wants or needs one. This review will highlight how Ireland is still sending people to the UK to get healthcare they should get here. 

We are currently conducting research into people’s experiences of abortion access since January 2019 and we have an anonymous survey available in 11 languages.