Family planning body demands ‘robust and rigorous’ review of abortion laws

The Irish Family Planning Association has called for “robustness and rigor” in a review of the state’s abortion laws.

It comes as the government confirmed it had appointed barrister Marie O’Shea as independent chair of the Health Act 2018 (Termination of Pregnancy Regulation) review.

Ms O’Shea was appointed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

The review will focus on the impact, operation and effectiveness of the legislation, as well as service delivery.

A public consultation is currently underway and will hear from organisations, advocacy groups and members of the public on how the law will work.

Niall Behan, chief executive of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), said: “The 2018 Act has transformed reproductive health care in Ireland, but loopholes in the law continue to undermine access to abortion. for many women.

“It is extremely important for women that these shortcomings are corrected and that the review makes strong recommendations to the government to reform abortion law to ensure access to this essential health care for all who need it. need.

“As an abortion care provider, we know that restrictions such as the 12-week limit, the three-day waiting period, and the restrictive definition of fetal abnormality in the law create unacceptable barriers to care. necessary health.

“These restrictions are compounded by the chilling effect of criminalization and the lack of coverage of hospitals and general practitioners in some counties.

“The review is an opportunity to reform Irish abortion law so that it fully supports reproductive autonomy.

“IFPA looks forward to working with the new Abortion Review Chair, Marie O’Shea, to ensure the review is rigorous and rights-based.”

People celebrate the vote to repeal Ireland's effective abortion ban in 2018 (Brian Lawless/PA)

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People celebrate the vote to repeal Ireland’s effective abortion ban in 2018 (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 2018 law was enacted on December 20, 2018.

Current law allows terminations of pregnancy without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Mr Donnelly said: ‘Commissioned independent research to inform service users and service provider strands will be key elements of the review.

“The conclusions of the research as well as the results of the public consultation will all be taken into account by the chair to assess the extent to which the objectives of the Act have been achieved.

“The chair will also draw on the findings of other relevant peer-reviewed research and consult further with stakeholders where necessary.”

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