Tuesday, 24th April 2018
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Removing the 8th amendment will allow for the provision of compassionate, non-judgmental care to women and girls who are pregnant as a result of rape, according to Together For Yes, the national civil society campaign to remove the 8th amendment. It will also return care for women and girls who are currently accessing abortion pills illegally via the internet or who are forced to travel abroad for abortion services, without proper medical supervision.

Together For Yes published a position paper on the Government proposal to allow women or girls access to abortion services for a period in early pregnancy up to 12 weeks. The paper states that requiring a rape victim to disclose what she has experienced in order to access abortion may re-traumatise the woman at a particularly vulnerable time, or prevent her from seeking care at all.

A number of invited speakers attended an event in the Together For Yes headquarters in Dublin City centre where the paper was officially launched.

Campaign Co-Director Orla O’Connor said: "Women and girls who become pregnant as a result of rape must have access to all healthcare supports they need. This means that a woman pregnant as a result of rape must be protected and allowed to end the pregnancy if that is what she decides to do. Allowing a woman or girl in these circumstances up to 12 weeks to access an abortion will provide her with the time and support she needs, and means that she will not be forced to disclose or report a rape to access the healthcare she needs."

"Removing the 8th amendment is the only compassionate way to care for women and girls who are pregnant as a result of rape, and it is one of the reasons we are advocating a Yes vote in the referendum. It will also mean access to care for women and girls who are currently ordering abortion pills illegally over the internet or who are forced to travel abroad for abortion services. As a mature country, we must support women and girls in these situations, not turn away from them."

Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Rotunda Hospital, Medical Director of the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) at the Rotunda Hospital and National SATU Services, said: "As long as the 8th amendment exists, women who become pregnant as a consequence of rape will continue to be some of the thousands of women who purchase and self-administer unregulated medications online with no medical support or travel to the UK and other countries for termination of pregnancy."

Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid said: "Something that might not be to the fore of people’s minds when discussing the impact of the 8th amendment is the very real and restrictive methods domestic abusers use to track their partners. Abusive partners use a range of digital tools to monitor women, find out her online and bank account passwords and keep track of her whereabouts. These tactics significantly impact on her freedom of movement, her privacy and her help-seeking, for example, her ability to source abortion pills outside Ireland. Consequently access is very unequal and women who are highly controlled as well as women who are living in poverty and women asylum seekers, for example, are all penalised as a result."

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