No medical grounds for restricting abortion access, says doctor

Doctors for Choice co-founder Dr Peadar O’Grady addresses Galway campaign launch

At Galway event artistic director Garry Hynes drew parallels with Irish society as depicted in John B Keane’s play, Sive, saying some of the issues affecting women are “still prevalent” today. Photograph: Leon Farrell/ Photocall

At Galway event artistic director Garry Hynes drew parallels with Irish society as depicted in John B Keane’s play, Sive, saying some of the issues affecting women are “still prevalent” today. Photograph: Leon Farrell/ Photocall

 

There are no medical grounds for restricting access to abortion, Doctors for Choice co-founder Dr Peadar O’Grady said in Galway on Wednesday night.

The only restriction is the consent of the woman, and women should be trusted on this issue as with every other medical issue affecting them, he said.

Dr O’Grady, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, was addressing a campaign launch hosted by the Galway Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Best medical principles around timescale for abortion involved having the procedure “as early as possible and as late as necessary”, rather than getting bound up in “absolute decisions” about numbers of weeks, he said.

Countries that restricted abortions had more late abortions, Dr O’Grady said.

An estimated 200 people attended the coalition event, which was also addressed by national Repeal the Eighth Amendment coalition convenor Ailbhe Smyth, Parents for Choice spokeswoman Jenni Owen-Thomas, Arlette Lyons of the Terminal for Medical Reasons campaign and Flavia Simas of Migrant and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice.

Healthcare issue

The coalition launch came a day after a National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWC) regional campaign event in Galway, which has identified repeal of the Eighth Amendment as a women’s healthcare issue.

The NWCI’s “Every Woman” affordable healthcare model has been endorsed by Druid Theatre artistic director Garry Hynes. In a video link message to the NWCI Galway event, Ms Hynes drew parallels with Irish society as depicted in John B Keane’s play, Sive, which Druid is staging in Dublin.

Some of the issues affecting women in 1959, when the play was published, are “still prevalent” today, Ms Hynes said.

“This is why we must repeal the Eighth Amendment,” Ms Hynes said.

The NWCI favours “repeal simpliciter” of the Eighth Amendment as the ideal solution, but accepts the Attorney General’s advice on the need for legislation in line with the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on this issue, NWCI director Orla O’Connor said.