Press Releases

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Doctors welcome Oireachtas committee vote to stop abandoning Irish women

Doctors for Choice (DfC) has today (13.12.17) welcomed the vote of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, to recommend: a repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the constitution; decriminalisation of women who have abortions and the medical practitioners that provide them; and to allow access to abortion without restriction as to reasons in early pregnancy.

The Committee listened to the many distinguished medical experts, who said that the Eighth Amendment impacts on their ability to care for pregnant women, and that the constitution is no place to regulate healthcare. The strong votes for decriminalisation from the committee, shows their realisation and acknowledgement of the ‘chill factor’ experienced by medical professionals when attempting to provide care to pregnant women.

The committee understood that allowing women to access abortion without restriction as to reasons up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, will account for the majority of women who travel to the UK every year to access abortion care. Many of these women can be cared for with medication in a primary care setting, with a GP prescribing the abortion pill.

As doctors, we want to care for all our patients and help them to make the right decisions that are best in their individual circumstances.

We strongly urge the Government to follow the recommendations of the committee and to urgently set a date for a referendum in early 2018, simply asking the electorate if they wish to repeal the Eighth Amendment from the constitution. The Eighth Amendment is a barrier to good reproductive healthcare for women, and it is time the State cared for the thousands of women who travel to access care every year.

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Thursday 26th October 2017

Statement from Doctors for Choice on the five year anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s death

As doctors we say never again. As doctors we say not in our name.

Savita Halappanavar died five years ago this week when 17 weeks pregnant. She died as a direct result of being denied a termination of pregnancy – a termination that was medically indicated and requested by her when she knew she was going to have a miscarriage that couldn’t be prevented. This is the blunt and unpalatable truth. If she had been medically managed as she would have been in every other European and developed country she would be alive today and we wouldn’t need to know who she is. Tragically we do, and her family and the Irish people must bear those scars.

Access to abortion is a health issue. The medical profession stands indicted for inactivity while the maternal health of women in Ireland is compromised. The restrictive Eighth Amendment must be repealed and legislation enacted to provide and regulate comprehensive abortion provision in Ireland.

Out of respect for Savita Halappanavar and her family, Doctors for Choice will not participate in “debates” about her death this week. This is a week to remember a vibrant young woman who, with her husband, very much wanted their baby, and who died because of the Eighth Amendment

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