National Women's Council call for three year abortion review to be accepted by government
"This review is the moment for changing that, for widening access to essential healthcare and for ensuring no woman has to travel."
After the Repeal referendum in 2018 saw the country change the laws around abortion, the reality of the legislation is far from perfect.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, the National Women's Council presented their amendments to the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
The legislation came in in 2019 and as the three-year review approaches, there are a number of changes the organisation demands the government take on board.
Proposing that abortion be decriminalised in all senses of the word, the three day wait period be removed and the twelve week limit be extended, they are saying that this is not the form of abortion that was voted in.
Speaking at the conference, Orla O'Connor, Director of the National Women's outlined the changes that need to be made to the legislation, which also included conscience based refusal to services, changes to MyOptions and the regional gaps in access to abortion services.
"We are collectively submitting this report into the review process. We all have one thing in common, and that's our belief that the abortion law is failing women and pregnant people, and does not honour the spirit of repeal," O'Connor said.
"This review is the moment for changing that, for widening access to essential healthcare and for ensuring no woman has to travel. If we are to guarantee equitable, accessible and legal abortion for all women and pregnant people in Ireland, we need to see full decriminalisation in line with the WHO guidance.
Giving more insight into the challenges around the current abortion laws, the panel explained that it is as if Repeal never happened in Ireland and the barriers to accessing abortion in this country still make it difficult for pregnant people.
Speaking from her own experience, Alison Lynch, a board member from Termination for Medical Reasons explained the barriers she faced when trying to access abortion in Ireland and was forced to access services in Liverpool.
In her heartbreaking statement, Lynch described how her son wasn't going to make it and she decided to end the pregnancy, but due to the 12 week limitation, she was refused.
After accessing services in the UK, she fell pregnant again and the same heartache occurred, but she carried to term this time after the mental and physical toll her last pregnancy took. Unfortunately, her baby didn't make it.
The National Women's Council has submitted their report and shared its concerns and recommendations to the government in hopes that reform will be made when it comes to the review of this legislation.