Women’s Hands Tied by Abortion Bill


Photograph © William Hederman & Eilis Murphy

The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) welcomes the publication of the draft bill as a move towards the government fulfilling their obligations under Irish constitutional law and the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the ABC case of 2010. ARC will examine the Bill for compliance with the X Case ruling and subsequent referenda, as well as the ABC case and analyse the full detail of it.

Commenting, ARC spokesperson Sinéad Redmond said, “It’s immediately apparent from this bill that it ignores the needs of the majority of women in Ireland who seek abortions; it continues to tie the hands of the many families each year faced with a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, women whose health is endangered by pregnancy, as well as women made pregnant by rape or incest. This Bill will criminalise the thousands of women in Ireland every year who self-administer the abortion pill and discourage them from seeking necessary medical assistance if needed.”

Also commenting, ARC spokesperson Cathie Doherty said, “We are deeply concerned that the Bill ignores the advice of the Expert Group Report on Abortion and the expert perinatal psychiatrists consulted, by differentiating between mental and physical health. This Bill requires that an obstetrician is involved in assessing a woman’s suicide risk even though this was directly challenged in the Oireachtas Health Committee hearings by perinatal psychiatrists in May 2013.

In addition to this, a very small number of doctors have expressed opposition to abortion under all circumstances. We demand to see specific reassurances put in place that they will not be allowed to sit on assessment panels where they could deny abortions to gravely ill women.”