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"We have an urgent need for safe and legal abortion care in this country."

Dr Caitriona Henchion, IFPA Medical Director

On Wednesday, 15th November 2017, the IFPA's Medical Director, Dr Caitriona Henchion, testified before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment. 

Her presentation addressed the socio-economic dimensions of crisis pregnancy and the impacts of Irish law on women who experience an unintended pregnancy.

Members of the Committee heard about the multiple barriers women in Ireland face when they need to access abortion care.

Dr Henchion explained that socio-economic factors can determine whether a woman ultimately travels for a legal abortion or resigns herself to the reality that her only option is an illegal abortion. And that for some women, the obstacles are insurmountable; they are forced to continue the pregnancy against their wishes.

"An unintended pregnancy," said Dr Henchion, "can mean the difference between a woman determining her own future, or seeing her plans derailed and her aspirations frustrated."

"Our legal system imposes a significant burden on women at a time of crisis and stress in their lives," Dr Henchion added. "It criminalises women and healthcare providers. All women are disadvantaged and discriminated against when they are forced to travel to another state to access abortion services, and even more so if they access illegal abortion."

"We have an urgent need for safe and legal abortion care in this country."

Click here to read Dr Henchion's full submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee (PDF).