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Martin: Hospitals required to offer abortion not doing so is "unacceptable"

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said that he is “open-minded” about potentially changing the three-day wait period for abortion.

The 72-hour reflection period was promised repeatedly by the government during the 2018 abortion referendum, and was included in the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. Its stated purpose is to ensure that the decision to receive an abortion is not made hastily, and that those who receive the procedure have time to weigh up their options.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner this week, the Tánaiste acknowledged that a clear commitment was made to the electorate at the time of the 8th Amendment referendum campaign.

"There were clear commitments given during the campaign on what the framework would be for the facilitation of this," he said.

"And my own view is we went to the doors, we said 'Here’s the framework in terms of the actual referendum itself in terms of the three days.' So I think there is a need, when you have a referendum, to fulfil those commitments for a period of time at any rate.

"To me, the more fundamental issue is the provision of services at the hospital sites. That to me is my issue but I’m not convinced the three days is as big a barrier as suggested."

The Tánaiste added that it was “unacceptable” that some hospitals which are required to provide abortions are not doing so, and that the government is considering the ongoing review of the abortion legislation, published this year, which recommended that the three-day wait be made optional. He said that he has "an open mind in respect of the three days."

Gript previously questioned the Tánaiste on the subject regarding his commitment to clear campaign promises.

The Tánaiste also said he is "very conscious" of "commitments" made during the 8th Amendment referendum, but declined to say whether he believes reneging on the 3-day wait would be breaking a campaign promise.



Ben Scallan

This article was first published on Gript and is published here with permission

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