The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) recommends a ‘protected period’ in early pregnancy. During this period, the ending of pregnancy should be permitted under medical supervision and the woman’s reasons for abortion 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. When we are discussing proposed legislation, it is crucial that we understand the reality of women’s lives, as well as best medical practice.
A ‘protected period’ in early pregnancy must allow a woman enough time to realise that she is pregnant, to consider her options and arrange her healthcare. We must allow for a considerate and compassionate period of time where a woman could end her pregnancy as early as possible and at the same time ensure that no woman’s decision is rushed.