Doctors For Choice welcomes the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in favour of one of the three women applicants in the ABC case and demands that the government now legislate on abortion provision as a matter of urgency. Much time wasting and obstruction has taken place while womens health has been, and continues to be compromised by the lack of abortion provision in Ireland. This ruling confirms what Irish doctors have known for many years; that Irish women are being denied reproductive justice in their own country. The three cases were representative of a broad spectrum of women who are forced to travel abroad to access abortion.
Dr Mary Favier spokesperson for Doctors For Choice said ‘The health of women resident in Ireland is being compromised by the persistent refusal of successive Irish governments to legislate for abortion provision in Ireland. Abortion is a mainstream gynaecological procedure: indeed it is the most common gynaecological procedure Irish women undergo. Thankfully, many women should now no longer need to travel to access this procedure abroad, with all the financial, social and health risks that poses. Legislation to provide for abortion provision should also help to halt the recent rise in illegal abortions in Ireland. This will have immediate beneficial effects, and women’s lives and health will be protected.’
She went on to add ‘Irish doctors should consider following the example of the three women who took the case and show courage in advocating legislative change, in supporting training, and in assisting in the provision of high quality abortion services in publically funded hospitals. Silence has for too long been part of abortion in Ireland. This ruling will fundamentally alter that silence and doctors have an important role as voices for change in any abortion discussions and as vocal supporters of women’s reproductive health rights. A focus on patient autonomy, patient safety and equity of access to services must be at the heart of the debate. These values are also at the heart of best practice in medicine; it is time to include abortion as part of that best practice in Ireland and the ruling today supports that view and will help it become reality.’
Doctors For Choice is a membership organisation formed in 2002 by a group of doctors, mainly general practitioners, who want to contribute to ending the silence around abortion in Ireland. We as doctors respect a woman’s right to reproductive integrity. We support a woman’s right to undergo abortion as a personal and individual choice. We reject the hypocrisy of exporting Irish abortions to England. We advocate the legalisation and regulation of abortion provision in Ireland. We provide a public voice for the many doctors who privately support this position. We also seek to inform the public with an evidence based approach to medical matters relating to abortion.
The European Court of Human Rights accepted an Amicus brief from Doctors For Choice for this case.
WORDS: Press release from Doctors for Choice - Thursday December 16th