The Republic of Ireland has reported a increase in the number of abortions committed, but their government is still pushing to have even more in years to come.
According to Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly, over 8,500 abortions were committed in Ireland in 2022. And he rejected claims that abortion isn’t sustainable, saying the demand for it continues to grow in the previously pro-life country.
Dr. Deirdre Duffy led a team of researchers in a study, by government request, meant to determine the experiences of abortion staffers. Duffy complained that there aren’t enough abortionists in the country right now for abortion to continue increasing. “There are parts where I have real concerns that the service could collapse because it is just not sustainable in its current form,” she told the Irish Times. “It’s a consultant-led service and there aren’t very many consultants.”
She also complained about conscientious objection laws, and said women’s location was often a determinant of whether or not they had access to abortion.
“It is better than before the referendum but it is a postcode lottery. It can fall down in so many areas. It is inequitable,” she said, adding, “Where someone breaches their obligations in a hospital, it is almost impossible to challenge them. If you take someone off the ward for unprofessional conduct for example, there may be no one there to fill their post. There is a lack of consistent management of conscientious objection.”
Donnelly, however, disagreed with this assessment, telling RTÉ Radio that abortion is increasing in Ireland.
“She is not correct at all. So over eight and a half thousand women availed of termination of pregnancy services in Ireland last year,” he said. “The vast majority of women had their needs met in primary care. We have over 420 GPs now providing services; that’s up by about 50 per cent in the last few years … a bit less than one in ten.”
Yet not everyone is on board with Donnelly’s optimistic push for more abortion. Peadar Tóibín, leader of the Aontú political party, called the 25% increase in abortions a heartbreaking development.
“Despite Ireland’s abortion rate radically increasing last year, the Minister for Health stated today that the abortion review’s objective is to increase access to abortion even more in Ireland,” he said. “Why is the ideological commitment to increase access to abortion now trumping any other potential support or solution for mothers in a crisis pregnancy?”
Last summer, Donnelly spoke in favor of a bill that would penalize pro-lifers for praying outside abortion facilities, or offering sidewalk counseling to pregnant women. Irish politicians are also looking to expand abortion to make it legal through birth; currently, preborn babies are protected from abortion after 12 weeks gestation.
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