Labour Women and Labour Youth are today welcoming the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment and calling on government to prioritise the drafting of legislation to give effect to these recommendations.
Commenting, Labour Women Chair Sinead Ahern said: “This is a historic moment for women in Ireland as the Joint Oireachtas committee voted overwhelmingly to remove the 8th Amendment from the Constitution. Through their votes, the committee has acknowledged what women, doctors and others have been saying for over 30 years, that the strict limits on abortion provided for by the 8th Amendment are bad for women, bad for their health and pose a risk to their lives. The approach taken by the committee has shown that the vast majority of members care for women and acknowledge the need for a humane and compassionate regime. We are now calling on government to respect this process and to put legislation calling for a referendum in line with the JOC recommendations to the Dáil and to the people in the first half of next year.”
Further commenting, Labour Youth Chair, Chloe Manahan said: “We are now calling on the government to ensure that legislation is drafted that ensures equality of access to health care services for all women regardless of financial status or geographic area. The current situation in Ireland allows access to abortion only for those with financial means to travel and this is totally unacceptable. Access to healthcare should never be dependent on means. We are calling on government to provide for all reproductive health services, including abortion, to be made freely available within the public system and to act to remove financial barriers to access.
“As we welcome this landmark for women’s health Labour Youth and Labour Women would like to acknowledge the sterling work carried out by the JOC and the Citizens Assembly, as well as the work of those who made submissions and testified before both. In particular, we are proud of Jan O’Sullivan TD and her work with the committee. We also acknowledge the phenomenal work of generations of activists who campaigned to make this day possible. Finally, we would like to recognize those women directly affected by the 8th, the thousands of journeys made across the Irish Sea and those who lost their lives because they couldn’t access the care they needed.”