Sir, – The Taoiseach now says that new abortion services will be rolled out on a phased basis from January 1st and will not be available in every hospital (News, December 11th).
While acknowledging the Taoiseach’s response to the unrealistic new year’s deadline, geographic differences in the availability of services, disproportionate pressure on some hospitals, and doctors having to weigh up the merits of performing one type of legal abortion and not another, will make a phased-in solution highly problematic.
To be fair, Minister for Health Simon Harris and Dr Peter Boylan have demonstrated phenomenal commitment in getting all stakeholders to this point, and they rightly stress the urgent need to end self-medication and travel abroad.
It is, therefore, essential to maintain the present momentum, complete the preparations that are well under way, put in the necessary resources and work together to implement an abortion service that provides excellence of care for all women – quickly and safely – in 2019.
The people have spoken. We owe it to women to get it right from the start. – Yours, etc,
Prof CHRIS FITZPATRICK,
& Infants University
School of Medicine,
A chara, – More than six months ago, Ireland said Yes to abortion care at home.
In spite of this, thousands of people are still travelling or importing safe, but illegal, abortion pills, rather than accessing the local healthcare they require.
Once the health Bill completes its passage through the Oireachtas, we will finally have abortion services in Ireland. There are doctors all over the country, in community and in hospital settings, who are committed to providing that service for their patients.
To those who say they are reluctant to provide services because of concerns over “safety” we ask: what is safe about pregnant people still being forced to travel abroad, to take pills in secret for fear of criminalisation? The safest option is the delivery of patient-centred healthcare at home.
The politicians who celebrated the success of the Yes campaign have a duty to uphold its result, and the medical profession have a duty to deliver. While the debates and discussion continue, we know that there are pregnant people all around this country expecting abortion healthcare on January 1st.
There is nothing left to do but give them the care they need. – Yours, etc,
Abortion Rights Campaign,