The way forward

The National Women’s Council of Ireland aims to build a shared understanding of what reproductive services we need that will enable all women and girls to realise their potential. This is why we are proposing a needs-based approach including the following elements:

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  • Constitutional change
  • Protected period
  • Protected treatments

Every Woman is a model for ensuring comprehensive, quality, universal reproductive healthcare services for women and girls in Ireland. This is why NWCI advocates for a complete removal of the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution. Every pregnancy is different, every decision is personal. The complexity of healthcare decisions has no place in the Constitution.

We also advocate for legislation that will allow for the availability of abortion in early pregnancy for all women who need it. During this ‘protected period’ the ending of pregnancy is permitted under medical supervision and considered a private matter with patient-doctor confidentiality protected. This would allow for early abortion care on the basis of need, including in the case of rape or incest, and allow medical professionals to care for women and girls in an appropriate medical setting in Ireland. Limiting this period to early pregnancy will help to minimise the need for later term abortions.

Where a wanted pregnancy turns into a crisis pregnancy at a later stage in pregnancy, we advocate for legislation that would allow for restricted access to abortion where it is considered medically necessary to protect the mental and physical health of the woman, and where there is a nonviable pregnancy. These ‘protected treatments’ would allow medical professionals to care for women in sometimes extremely difficult and distressing circumstances and support women, couples and families in making the decision that is right for them and their personal circumstances.