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WATCH: Abortion review failed to talk to even one woman who had changed her mind in 3-day wait

Image credit: Anastasiia Chepinska (Unsplash)

In a revealing exchange at the Oireachtas Health Committee today, the Chair of the Abortion Review admitted that she had not spoken to even one women who changed her mind during the three-day waiting period.

Barrister Marie O’Shea, who tweeted in favour of repeal in the referendum in 2018, but was nonetheless appointed as an independent Chair of a review of the abortion act, has called for the 3-day wait before abortion to be scrapped.

Data from the HSE shows that almost 4,000 women between 2019-2022 did not return for an abortion after three-day wait period that follows an initial consultation.

Despite that, Ms O’Shea’s review has insisted that there is “no medical reason” for the three-day waiting period.

Today, Ms O’Shea said that research for the abortion review had found that women “almost universally” said they did not believe in a need for the waiting period.

However, responding to a question on the same issue from Peadar Tóibín, Ms O’Shea admitted that she had not spoken to any women who went through the waiting period and decided to continue with their pregnancy.

Mr Tóibín said the review chaired by Ms O’Shea therefore had not investigated “any women who took the three-day wait period as an opportunity to change their mind”.

That is some revelation to put on the Dáil record.

But it was, of course, largely ignored by the media who just dutifully parroted O’Shea’s call to scrap the 3-day wait.

The government has spent considerable sums of money for research and for a supposedly independent review where the chief researcher was a campaigner for repeal – and the chair supported the legalisation of abortion.

Now they are using that review to push for the 3-day waiting period – a time for women to think and find alternatives for abortion – to be scrapped.

And they didn’t even bother to find and talk to one of the thousands of women who had changed their mind during the 3-day wait? They didn’t think that might have been worth listening to?

So when they are saying they represent women’s experiences and choices, they only mean the women whose experience fits their narrative – their campaign for even more abortion.

Peadar Tóibín also asked if the review had reached out to the family of baby Christopher – aborted after a misdiagnosis – , perhaps to see if the culture in the maternity hospitals is now pushing women towards abortion, but no, Ms O’Shea hadn’t done that either.

The whole process really is a joke.

But when 8,500 abortions have taken place in 2022 under a regime that O’Shea is pushing to make even more liberal, then the failures of the review are not remotely funny.

This piece was first published on Gript

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