A European report has stated that Ireland’s abortion laws are ‘highly restrictive’. They believe that Ireland’s abortion legislation is putting women’s health at risk.
In Ireland, abortion is illegal unless a mother's life is at risk and an abortion must be carried out to save her.
The report claims that the Irish abortion laws could have a negative impact on women’s health and their wellbeing.
The Eighth Amendment currently reads, “The state acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."
They also expressed their concerns about the impact the laws have on women’s financial situations due to the high costs of accessing abortions in the United Kingdom.
The report criticised Ireland’s legal punishment for women who purchase abortion pills online. Currently, if a woman is caught buying abortion pills online, they can face up to 14 years in prison.
The report states, “This fear is often well founded – in some of these jurisdictions women who have had illegal abortions, or family members who assisted them, have subsequently faced criminal prosecution and penalties.”
Due to the strict legislation, many women are afraid to seek medical help if they have had an abortion through using pills or travelling to another country where it is legal.
The report said that women’s health is at risk due to the laws in Ireland and many other countries, “Women in these countries who resort to clandestine abortion are often afraid to seek post-abortion care if complications arise, with potentially severe consequences for their health.
There are only eight places in Europe where abortion is illegal- they include Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Poland.
The report said that these regions all have “highly restrictive laws that forbid women’s access to abortion except in extremely limited circumstances.”
Ireland’s legislation on abortion may change in the future with a referendum set to take place in the future.
The Oireachtas Committee is set to make recommendations on Ireland’s abortion laws within the coming days.
Back in September, Leo Varadkar announced that a standalone referendum on the Eighth Amendment will be held in the May or June of 2018.