Abolish three-day waiting period for abortion, TD demands

Heads of a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancy is due to be published next month

Minister for Health Simon Harris has been sent a lengthy submission on abortion legislation by Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has been sent a lengthy submission on abortion legislation by Solidarity/People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.

 

Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger has called on the Government to remove the three-day waiting period from the proposed abortion legislation.

Ms Coppinger has sent a lengthy submission to Minister for Health Simon Harris, who is preparing a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancy.

Her submission, which was written by Dr Abigail Aiken of the University of Texas, includes a call for legislation to enforce a “buffer zone” excluding protestors from getting access to women seeking abortion services.

The submission also includes a recommendation to allow for terminations beyond 12 weeks in the cases of foetal abnormalities, or disability. This was rejected by the Oireachtas committee on the Eighth Amendment, which voted against allowing for terminations in such circumstances.

The proposals currently require a 72-hour period to elapse before a termination within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Barriers

“There is absolutely no scientific evidence for this practice, which serves only to erect major barriers to access and also creates a systematic inequity between those who have the time, resources, and support to attend multiple appointments, and those who do not. ‘More time to think’ should always be an option, but never a requirement,” the submission states.

It also claims waiting periods are not supported by healthcare professionals.

“The purpose of these waiting periods is solely as a back-door tactic to try to prevent women and pregnant people from having abortions.

“But their impacts, especially in conjunction with other barriers, can be serious. They systematically disadvantage those who are poor, who live far away from the clinic or who lack transport, who struggle to take time away from work or childcare, and who suffer from physical or mental disability.”

On the issue of conscientious objection, Ms Coppinger said medical professionals who do not wish to provide abortion services should be obliged to refer patients.

The Heads of a Bill to regulate the termination of pregnancy is due to be published in July. It is unlikely to be introduced until the autumn, as there have been a number of legal challenges to the referendum result.