28 Sep 2017

Will Irish women still need to go on abortion "holidays" in 2018?

Ireland's restrictive abortion law is forcing women with unwanted pregnancies and with fatal fetal abnormalities, to travel abroad for a termination, or order illegal abortion pills online. It is time for change.

Ciara Kenny
Ciara Kenny The Irish Times, Ireland
Source: The Irish Times
Will Irish women still need to go on abortion "holidays" in 2018? - NewsMavens
Sagittal view of a fetal face. X Compagnion/Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

This Saturday in Dublin, tens of thousands of people -- men, women and children -- are expected to gather, as they do every year, for the annual March for Choice, protesting against Ireland’s Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment, which recognises the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child, effectively bans abortions in Ireland.

Although abortion is technically legal in Ireland since the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed in 2013, which allows for a termination if there is an imminent risk to the woman’s life, abortion is not allowed in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape, or if the foetus has a fatal abnormality.

Every day, an average of 10 women travel from Ireland to Britain for an abortion.

The abortion debate in Ireland has intensified in recent years and demands to repeal the Eighth Amendment are growing louder. This week, after much can-kicking by successive Irish governments on the issue, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that a referendum on the Eighth Amendment is likely to take place in May or June next year, but he has indicated that he will wait until the wording of the referendum has been clarified to decide whether he will campaign in favour of the proposal.

We have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union, which is forcing women with unwanted pregnancies and with fatal fetal abnormalities, to travel abroad for a termination, or order illegal and potentially dangerous abortion pills online. They are our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our friends. They are us. Too many women, and their partners, have had to suffer. It is time for change, which is why I will be joining the march on Saturday, and making sure my voice is heard in the referendum next year.

Details from the story:

  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined dates for forthcoming referendums. including one on the Eighth Amendment, during Leader's Questions on 26th September.
  • Every day, an average of 10 women travel from Ireland to Britain for an abortion
  • Annual March for Choice takes place in Dublin this Saturday
  • Ireland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the EU
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