Why I’m Marching: Accessibility is *still* an issue

Evie Nevin from Disabled People for Choice

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I still haven’t felt the relief, even 3 years after Ireland voted overwhelmingly to Repeal the 8th. 

People with disabilities were disproportionately affected by the 8th and they are now disproportionately affected by the legislation. 

The three day wait is an issue. The 12 week cut off point is an issue. Conscientious objection is an issue. Accessibility is *still* an issue. 

The 72 hour “reflection” period can be a huge physical, emotional and financial strain on people with disabilities. 

Having to gather the spoons (energy) for two trips, to organise travel, then to travel is a big ask for many people with chronic illnesses. Not to mention that if you are depending on a Carer, your privacy is infringed. 

What if your local GP doesn’t provide the service? What if you live in a care home and only have access to one GP?

Again, asking someone to drive to another town or in (some cases) another county is a huge undertaking. It can be costly and it can also mean the doctor providing the abortion doesn’t know the patients full medical history. They may not know about rarer diseases and potential complications. 

The 12 week cut off point is a problem for all pregnant people needing to access abortion but again, disproportionately affects people with disabilities. Many of us have conditions which cause irregular periods or no periods at all. Some medications can cause this and can also cause certain contraceptives to fail. There are so many people with disabilities who find out they’re pregnant quite far into the first trimester. So they have to travel, again, at great expense, with their privacy potentially infringed upon and without their own medical team’s expertise. 

In addition to these barriers, the protesting outside abortion providers is intimidating and nobody, disability or not, should be obiected to intimidation. Everyone has a right to access healthcare safely and privately. 

When I wrote a motion for Cork County Council to introduce exclusion zones, it was shot down. “This is a Government issue”. Well, 3 years later and nothing has been done. 

So please attend this year’s march for choice and tell our Government that they need to act and act now.