Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called on the Minister for Health and Government to move quickly to improve access to reproductive healthcare. He said that five years on from the repeal of the 8th amendment, there are still many barriers impeding access to lawful services, including geographical disparity in service provision and the mandatory 3-day wait.
The TD for Waterford said that the Minister should move quickly to implement less complex legislative changes recommended by the review rather than waiting to implement all legislative changes in a single bill.
Teachta Cullinane said that it could take months if not years to complete consultation processes and develop legislative amendments to give full effect to many of the recommendations of the review, but that some legislative barriers such as the 3-day wait could be addressed quickly before the summer recess.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“In 2018, people voted for women to have access to services. Five years on and the services are still not properly in place. Women should be able to access the services which were voted for.
“This morning was a welcome opportunity to engage with Marie O’Shea, the author of the final report on the abortion services review, who outlined how barriers such as geographical disparities in service provision and the mandatory 3-day wait are impeding access to services.
“It is clear from this engagement that there are some recommendations, including some legislative changes, that could be implemented very quickly, such as removing the mandatory 3-day wait.
“The review makes 75 recommendations, many of which are operational, and some of which will require lengthy consultation and further discussion with clinicians and other stakeholders.
“The necessary process for reaching a conclusion on those recommendations should not delay the changes which can be implemented quickly.
“The Minister for Health should immediately progress amendments to the Act to remove barriers to abortion services such as the mandatory 3-day wait rather than waiting to implement all legislative changes in a single bill.”