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Four years after the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, women’s reproductive healthcare is still not a priority for this Government

The Minister for Health must urgently intervene to ensure that every maternity hospital in the State offers access to all legal healthcare options to women seeking abortions, according to Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns.

Deputy Cairns was reacting to reports that only 11 of the country’s 19 maternity units are providing abortion services, without restriction, up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. It also emerged that five of the country’s maternity hospitals will not have access to abortion services until next year, at the earliest.

“More than four years after the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, it is disgraceful that proper reproductive healthcare is not available in all maternity hospitals. Not only is the Government obliged to implement the will of the Irish people, this absence of care has major implications for those who require terminations.

“This highlights the larger issue of the unavailability of proper maternity and reproductive healthcare across the country. There are large areas where people cannot access legal services locally, despite their medical need, forcing them to travel long distances in distressing circumstances with increased risks.

“It also puts more pressure on overstretched GPs who are conscientiously committed to helping families in need.

“While individuals have the right to conscience-based refusal of care, it is up to the Minister for Health and the HSE to ensure that services are made available. It is completely unacceptable that these services are not provided in all maternity hospitals in 2022.

“It is equally concerning that just over 10 percent of GPs are reported to be offering abortion services, and this issue also requires the Minister’s urgent attention.

“The slow roll-out of abortion services across the country flies in the face of the wishes of those who voted to appeal the Eighth Amendment and shows that women’s reproductive healthcare is not a priority for this Government.”

October 24, 2022

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