Threat from anti-abortion activists who stop family doctors from providing pregnancy support in crisis situations, the Oireachtas committee said

LESS than one in ten GPs offer abortion services, the Oireachtas Health Committee was told today. As a result, women in rural Ireland in particular have poor access to support.

rla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council (NWC) said some counties were underserved.

She explained that key issues need to be addressed in the current review of legislation, the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, which allows abortion.

She also emphasized how: “Rigid pregnancy limits, mandatory waiting periods, narrow fetal mortality clauses and the ongoing criminalization of physicians hamper the ability of physicians to provide urgent care and, contrary to the WHO (World Health Organization), place a burden on women and pregnant people. ) policies.”

Ms O’Connor added: “GPs have highlighted that the threat from anti-abortion advocates is one of the biggest obstacles for new providers coming on board.

“GPs also want the support and support of local maternity hospitals. Currently only 10 maternity wards in Ireland offer abortion services.

“Health care providers should be required to keep a record of conscientious objections and to indicate which service they referred the woman or pregnant person to.”

Referring to the measures that pregnant women are being forced to take, she said: “Significant challenges remain as some women and couples continue to be forced to travel and marginalized women face additional barriers.

“NWC members believe this review is a critical moment for the Oireachtas to transform the current situation for women, expand access to essential healthcare and ensure no woman has to travel.

“It is a unique and significant opportunity to raise quality standards and bring Ireland into line with WHO guidelines and international best practice.”

Maeve Taylor of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) said that although the availability of abortion treatments has transformed reproductive rights in Ireland, the 2018 law is deeply flawed.

“The penal provisions of the law do not meet international human rights standards. According to IFPA, the mandatory waiting period, the pregnancy limit at 12 weeks gestation and the restrictive criteria for access preclude too many in a crisis pregnancy situation.

“After 12 weeks, the possibility of abortion is limited to two reasons: danger to life or ‘serious harm’ to the pregnant woman’s health and fatal fetal anomaly. From the point of view of IFPA, this is far too restrictive.”

She added: “Most women and girls living in Ireland seek abortion treatment well before the 12th week of pregnancy. But a pregnancy crisis cannot be neatly confined to the first trimester.

“IFPA’s experience is that the burden of exclusion created by this border falls disproportionately on the young, vulnerable, excluded and disadvantaged.” Threat from anti-abortion activists who stop family doctors from providing pregnancy support in crisis situations, the Oireachtas committee said

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