Mahony says the 8th Amendment causes ‘unacceptable risk’ to women
A number of leading medics have this morning stated that the 8th Amendment is causing unacceptable risk to women in Ireland, and have appealed for its removal so that doctors can provide adequate healthcare to their patients.
Drs Rhona Mahony, Mark Murphy and Susan Smith addressed a press conference in Dublin this morning, which was organised by the Together For Yes campaign.
Guest speaker at the event, Dr Rhona Mahony, consultant in foetal medicine, said: “The result of the 8th Amendment is that women are forced to travel to another jurisdiction in very complex medical situations, but also increasingly women are taking the matter into their own hands and we now have a backstreet abortion in Ireland through access of pills secured via the internet and taken without any support or intervention. Something has to change because the 8th Amendment creates unacceptable clinical risk to women.”
She continued: “Legislation seeks to address difficult issues. In the first 12 weeks it deals with women who have complex medical disorders and find themselves to be pregnant. They will no longer have to go between a judge and a jury and prove that they are dying and that there is sufficient risk. They can now access termination early in pregnancy which is much safer than later in pregnancy. It would deal with the issue of rape. There is no clinical test to prove that a woman has been raped and the prospect of a woman having to present herself and prove she has been raped is an additional cruelty that should be avoided, and the 12 weeks allows for this and also it allows us provide proper healthcare for women taking tablets in an unsupported way. It allows us to address issues of sexual health, contraception and sexual health screening.
“Legislation also allows us flexibility in terms of serious disorders for women. No longer would it require women to be actually dying but we will be able to address serious medical disorders. Decisions will be made by clinicians in good faith as they are all the time in medicine. At the end of the day, the 8th Amendment in our Constitution is every day causing women serious risk and it should be removed.”
Dublin-based GP and Together for Yes spokesperson, Dr Mark Murphy added: “GPs would like to provide continuous, non judgemental and compassionate care to women who need abortion services. Women in these situations are currently being forced to travel abroad. And we because of the 8th Amendment are complicit in imposing ill health on these women who require compassionate care in Ireland.”
Dr Susan Smith, who is a GP and Professor in Primary Care, also addressed the issue of abortion pills: “What we know is that women are taking these without any medical support or supervision, isolated, on their own, with a lot of fear potentially surrounding what can be a reasonably difficult experience even if you are surrounded by a lot of care. There is no ability for GPs to support their patients in these scenarios. As a GP that’s very difficult. It’s an area of medicine where I am not allowed to provide safe and effective care for women with unplanned pregnancies early on in their pregnancy.”
Meanwhile, the Together For Yes campaign has welcomed the publication of the General Scheme of a Bill outlining the Government proposals to follow if the 8th Amendment is removed from the Constitution.
Ailbhe Smyth, a Co-Director with Together For Yes, said: “Cabinet’s backing of the scheme is not just a crucial step forward in the overall referendum campaign – it is also a major milestone in the journey this country is taking to provide the healthcare Irish women need.
The legislative proposals are important because they seek to address women’s healthcare needs in Ireland by ending the harmful impacts of the 8th. As our campaign gets underway, it is clear there is a broad agreement emerging in Irish communities that we need to provide compassionate, supportive healthcare to women.”
More info at: www.togetherforyes.ie
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